Allahabad HC issues contempt notice to SHO, Barabanki for alleged violation of it’s order in Gareeb Nawaz Mosque Demolition Case

  • Ratna Singh
  • 05:37 PM, 04 Jul 2021

The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday has issued show cause notice to the Station House Officer (Ram Sanehi Ghat) and sought his reply as to why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him for demolition of the Gareeb Nawaz mosque in violation of High Court order dated April 24.

The Single Bench of Justice Ravi Nath Tilhari noted that the averments made in the contempt petition prima facie made it appeared that the demolition of the mosque in question on 17.05.2021 by the Respondent (SHO), as infirmed is in violation of the directions of the order passed in plea.

It must be noted that on 17th May, the Gareeb Nawaz Mosque was demolished by the administration claiming it to be “Illegal structure”. Therefore, there was an order of the Allahabad High Court that directed for demolitions to be slowed down during the second wave of the pandemic, until May 31.

The mosque in question was situated in Bani Kada village, also known locally as the Gareeb Nawaz Masjid. The Board had filed a petition in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court,"contesting the illegal demolition of a 100-year-old Masjid by Barabanki administration in Ram Sanehi Ghat Tehsil premises".

The petition stated that the mosque had been in existence since 1968 and was registered with the Board. It also referred to an order passed by the High Court on April 24, staying orders of eviction, dispossession or demolition till May 31. It further stated that the mosque was built in the British era and was registered with the Board in 1968.

The Learned Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for the petitioners submitted that the orders issued by SDM, Ram Sanehi Ghat and SHO were in grave violation of the directions issued by the High Court.

He further submitted, in the April 24 order of the High Court, there was a general direction that of any order of eviction, dispossession or demolition, already passed by the High Court, District Court or Civil Court, if not executed till the date of passing of this order shall remain in abeyance till 31st May.

He also, submitted that the proceedings under Section 133 Cr.P.C. are of a civil nature as has been held in State of M.P. Vs. Kedia Leather & Liquor Ltd. and others; (2003) and in the case of Ganga Singh & others Vs. State of U.P. & others; (2017). Further, he also pointed out that where directions are general in nature, any violation thereof would enable an aggrieved party to file contempt petition.

However, the Court refused to issue contempt notice to the SDM and noted that,

"Paragraph-4 of the affidavit filed in support of the contempt petition, prima facie appears not to be correct with respect to the respondent No. 1 in as much as the date of the order passed by the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Ram Snehi Ghat, Tehsil Barabanki is 03.04.2021, whereas in the P.I.L. No. 564 of 2020 the order in which the directions were issued is dated 24.04.2021. There is nothing on record of the contempt petition to show that the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Ram Snehi Ghat, Tehsil Barabanki, passed any order for demolition or advising dispossession and evictions during the pendency of the order dated 24.04.2021 passed by this Court in the P.I.L. As such from the averments of the contempt petition, prima face, no case for issuance of notice is made out against the respondent No. 1.”

The matter will be next heard on 22nd July.

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