The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was accused of illegally interrupting the prayers by the managing committee of the mosque, which had submitted the appeal. The ASI has stated that because the mosque is situated inside the Qutub Minar’s perimeter, permitting prayers there could create a precedent for other historical sites.
The Delhi High Court has moved up the hearing date for a case challenging the prohibition on praying in the Mehrauli area’s Mughal Mosque to December 1. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials allegedly stopped the offering of namaz in the mosque on May 13, 2022 in a “absolutely unlawful, arbitrary, and precipitous manner,” according to the managing committee of the Mughal Mosque, which was appointed by the Delhi Waqf Board. The managing committee filed a high court petition last year alleging this.
In a recent decision, Justice Prateek Jalan stated that the petitioner was allowed to request an early hearing, adding, “List on 01.12.2023. The following hearing date, January 30, 2024, is postponed.
M. Sufian Siddiqui, the petitioner’s attorney, claimed that up until last year, when the ASI abruptly stopped them, the prayers were regularly offered within the mosque.
Recently, the court had requested clarification from the ASI regarding its stance on permitting prayers by followers in places of worship inside protected monuments.
According to the ASI’s response to the petition, the in question mosque is located within the Qutub Minar’s boundaries and is therefore a protected area, making it illegal to offer prayers there.
Allowing worship in the Mughal Mosque, according to the ASI, would “not only set an example, it may also impact other monuments too.”
The Qutub Minar is a World Heritage Site and a Monument of National Importance. It is argued that it is not a place of worship because no community has used the monument or any portion of it for worship of any kind since it came under protection.
“It is submitted that the Mosque in question comes within the boundary of Qutub Minar Complex,” the response stated.