PIL In Supreme Court Demands Rebuilding Of Mosques, Temple Pulled Down In Telangana Secretariat
Syed Khalique Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, AUGUST 11—Hyderabad-based advocate Khaja Aijazuddin has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Telangana government to give commitment to rebuild two mosques and a temple within the vicinity of the old Telangana secretariat at Hyderabad that were pulled down last month to enable construction of a new building for the state secretariat.
The Telangana secretariat complex is spread over an area of 25 acres.
In his plea, Khaja Aijazuddin said that the temple named Nalla Pochamma was located in A Block of the secretariat while two mosques- one named as Masjid Daffatir-e-Muatamadi was located in C block and the other one Masjid-e-Hashmi was located near the D block.
The petition said that there is no dispute about the existence of the three religious places within the secretariat complex before the demolition of the building. The question about the religious places has arisen after their demolition along with the old Secretariat build to rebuild a new building for the secretariat.
The petition submitted that he, along with several other petitioners, moved the Telangana High Court seeking stay on the demolition decision of the secretariat building. The high court in 2019 stayed the demolition decision of the state government. But on June 29, 2020, the High Court dismissed all the petitions and allowed the state government to go ahead with demolition of the entire Secretariat building.
Another PIL was subsequently filed by some people when the demolition of the secretariat building began on July 7 but this petition, too, was dismissed on July 17. But before this, the two mosques and a temple within the secretariat complex had been demolished.
On July 10, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao apologised for demolition of the three religious buildings. “I am sorry”, he told mediapersons while replying to questions.
However, the Chief Minister, according to the petitioner, did not give any guarantee for rebuilding of the temple and the mosques. “The Chief Minister of Telangana have just merely apologized for the demolition of the religious structures but never assured the citizens by committing to rebuild the religious places that were demolished”, advocate Khaja Aijazuddin submitted in his petition.
The petition pointed out that it was the duty of the State Wakf Board and Endowment Department (who have been made parties in the petition) to protect the religious properties and they should have prevailed over the state government to ensure their protection. “But they remained mute spectator to it for reasons best known to them”, he said in the petition.
The petition said that the Wakf board under the provisions of the Waqf Act, 1955 should have taken commitment from the state government for rebuilding the mosques within the premises of the secretariat itself when the new secretariat building is erected again. The petitioner also pointed out that “it is a settled principal of law that once a religious place existed, it remains for ever as enshrined under Article 26 of the Constitution of India”.
The petitioner said the Endowment Department responsible for maintenance and operation of the temple also failed to protect the temple and remained silent when it was demolished.
Adv Aijazuddin requested the apex court to direct the state government “to pass an executive order or a resolution in the State Assembly of Telangana or the Parliament of India by giving commitment for rebuilding the three religious places-two mosques and a temple-within the state secretariat complex and at the same place where they stood originally before their demolition and also by terming the demolition of religious places as highly unwarranted, illegal and unconstitutional”.