Shahi Idgah mosque and Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi temple in Mathura. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: The Allahabad high court has restored a petition seeking the removal of Mathura’s Shahi Idgah Mosque, adjacent to a Krishna temple.

The main petition was dismissed in default on January 19, 2021 as the petitioner appeared in person and not through a lawyer. The application for restoration was filed immediately thereafter.

In an order on February 17, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Prakash Padia restored the plea on grounds that the application to restore it was filed without any delay. “For the reason stated in the application, the same is allowed. Order dated January 19, 2021 dismissing the main petition in default is recalled. Let the main petition be now listed as per roster on July 25, 2022,” the court said.

Earlier, in 2020, a Mathura court had dismissed a plea seeking the removal of the mosque.

A group of people had moved the Mathura court over the 17th century mosque they claim was built at the birthplace of Lord Krishna, within the 13.37-acre premises of the Katra Keshav Dev temple.

The suit had demanded the annulment of an earlier Mathura court ruling, ratifying a land deal reached between the Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan and the Shahi Idgah Management Committee on the mosque.

The suit was filed on behalf of child deity Bhagwan Shrikrishna Virajman, through the “next friend” Ranjana Agnihotri and seven others.

Next friend is a legal term for a person who represents someone directly unable to maintain a suit.

The petition had named the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board; Shahi Masjid Idgah Trust; Shri Krishna Janambhoomi Trust; and Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan as defendants.

The plaintiffs sought an order directing the mosque management to “remove the construction raised by them encroaching upon the land within the area of the Katra Ksehav Dev temple”.

The plea demanded prohibitory injunctions restraining the defendants, their workers, supporters, men, attorneys and every person acting under them from entering the premises.

“Government’s official website of Mathura District it is stated that Shahi idgah mosque is built after demolition of Krishna Janmabhoomi by Aurangzeb. Krishna janmabhoomi on Krishna janmasthan has an overriding claim over than any mosque. This is the fundamental truth in the Krishna janmabhoomi dispute,” the plea claimed.

The petition has also sought declaration of key provisions of the Places of Worship Act, which prohibits conversion of any place of worship and provides for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed at the time of independence, as unconstitutional, according to Bar and Bench.

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