A Delhi court on Tuesday reserved for June 9 the order on a plea seeking restoration of 27 Hindu and Jain temples inside the Qutub Minar complex.The arguments in the matter concluded today and the court said that the parties would be at liberty to file brief synopsis, if any, within a week.
“The more fundamental question is what is the character (of the monument). You say it’s a monument without worship and as such it should continue like that. They says it’s a temple pre existing and suppose this is a situation, can it be decided under Order 7 Rule 11?” the court said, according to Live Law.
Hari Shankar Jain, one of the appellants, has demanded the restoration of deities and offering of prayers at the complex. “It is the admitted position is for the last 800 years, it wasn’t used by the Muslims. When there is a term plea which was in existence much before the mosque, why can’t it be restored?” Jain submitted.
Jain referred to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Ayodhya temple case to contend that once a deity, is always a deity and a temple, merely on being demolished, shall not lose its character, sanctity or dignity.
However, the Court enquired as to what is the legal right which entitles the appellants. It stated that the existence of idol is not in dispute.
“Now you want this monument to be turned into a temple calling it restoration, my question is how would you claim that the plaintiffs have a legal right assuming it existed about 800 years back? On a lighter note, Deity is survived for last 800 years without worship. Let him survive like that,” the court observed.
Earlier today, the Archaeological Survey of India opposed the plea, saying that the monument is not a place of worship and altering the existing structure is not permissible.
The plea filed on behalf of Jain deity Tirthankar Lord Rishabh Dev, filed through next friend Hari Shankar Jain, alleged that the Quwwat-Ul-Islam Masjid situated within the Qutub Minar Complex in Mehrauli was built in place of a temple complex thereby seeking restoration of the temple complex comprising of as many as 27 temples.
The petitioner had approached the Saket district court after a civil court had rejected the plea, noting that the suit was barred by the provisions of the Places of Worship Act, 1991 and rejected the plaint under Order 7 Rule 11 (a) of Civil Procedure Code for non-disclosure of cause and action.
The civil judge had also observed that the wrongs of the past cannot be a basis for disturbing the present peace and if it is allowed, the fabric of the Constitution, secular character will be damaged.