Civil suit seeks ownership of Krishna Janmabhoomi land, removal of Idgah Masjid

Civil suit seeks ownership of Krishna Janmabhoomi land, removal of Idgah Masjid. On behalf of child deity Bhagwan Shri Krishna Virajman, a civil suit was filed seeking the removal of the Shahi Idgah. The suit was filed before the court of civil judge, senior division, Mathura. Shahi Idgah is just adjacent to the Shri Krishna temple complex at Mathura.

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Civil suit seeks ownership of Krishna Janmabhoomi land, removal of Idgah Masjid

Ranjana Agnihotri, a resident of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, has filed the suit. The plaintiff is described as ‘Bhagwan SriKrishna Virjman at Katra Keshav Dev Khewat, Mauja Mathura Bazaar City”. Ranjana was accompanied by six other devotees.

The UP Sunni Central Waqf Board and the Committee of Management of Trust of Shahi Idgah have been arranged as defendants in the suit.

The suit seeks recovery of 13.37 acres of land situated within the area of the temple.

The suit claims that the trust, with the help of some Muslims, encroached upon the land belonging to Shri Krishna Janamasthan Trust and the deity, and erected a structure.

The birthplace of Lord Krishna lies beneath the structure raised by the trust, the suit said.

It was also claimed that Shri Krishna Janamsthan Seva Sansthan, which is the governing body of the temple complex, entered into an illegal compromise with the Shahi Idgah trust with a view to grab the property in question.

“The Shree Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan is working against the interest of the deity and devotees and fraudulently entered into a compromise with the Committee of Management of Trust Masjid Idgah (Trust) in 1968 conceding a considerable portion of property belonging to the deity and the trust,” the suit said.

The civil judge, Mathura, passed a judgement on the suit regarding the alleged “compromise between the Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sansthan and the Trust” on July 20, 1973.

The present suit has now prayed for “cancelling this judgement”.

But, what would come in the way of the suit being adjudicated is the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, which had exempted litigation on ownership over disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid litigation but barred any other court from entertaining litigation that would alter the status quo of a religious place as existed in 1947.

After giving the disputed land to Hindus for construction of Ram Temple and a separate five acres for construction of a mosque in Ayodhya on November 9, last year, the SC had shut the door for fresh litigation to alter status quo of sites such as those in Kashi and Mathura, which have also seen discord over worship.

It had said, “In providing a guarantee for the preservation of the religious character of places of public worship as they existed on 15 August 1947 and against the conversion of places of public worship, Parliament determined that independence from colonial rule furnishes a constitutional basis for healing the injustices of the past by providing the confidence to every religious community that their places of worship will be preserved and that their character will not be altered.”

“Non-retrogression is a foundational feature of the fundamental constitutional principles of which secularism is a core component. The Places of Worship Act is thus a legislative intervention which preserves non-retrogression as an essential feature of our secular values,” a five-judge bench headed by then CJI Ranjan Gogoi had ruled.

What may, however, act as a legal bar to this new suit would be the law passed in 1991: Places of Worship (Special Provisions Act). This law was passed at the height of Ram Janmabhoomi dispute and seeks to protect all religious structures as they existed at the time of Independence with the exception of the disputed site at Ayodhya.

Thus, conversion of mosques into temples or vice versa is barred as per the Act. Since the Ayodhya land was exempted, the Supreme Court had invoked this law while awarding the disputed site at Ayodhya to child deity Ram Lalla while reaffirming that similar cases cannot be entertained with respect to other sites.

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