"Qutab Minar is not a place of worship": ASI informs Delhi Court in plea seeking restoration of temples in Qutab complex

Read Time: 04 minutes

The Archeological Survey of India, in its response to the plea seeking restoration of Hindu Temples in the Qutab Minar Complex, has submitted before the Delhi Court that Qutab Minar is not a place of worship and since the time of its protection by the Central Government, Qutab Minar or any part of Qutab Minar has not been used for worship by any community.

The response filed by Superintending Archeologist Dr. GK Srivastava through Advocate Subhash C Gupta while referring to Section 30(1) of the AMASR Act submits that the intention of the statute is clear that the monument should be protected and preserved in its original condition for the posterity. "Therefore, changing and alteration of the existing structure would be a clear violation of the AMASR Act, 1958." it reads.

The plea seeking restoration of Hindu temples also seeks worship rights at the Qutab Minar complex alleging that they were demolished by Qutubdin Aibak located in the present Qutab Complex.

However, the ASI's response states, "Fundamental right cannot be availed in violation of any status of the land. The basic principle of protection /conservation is not to allow starting of any new practice in a monument declared and notified as a protected one under the Act. Revival of worship is not allowed wherever it is not practiced at the time of protection of a monument."

It has also been submitted by the ASI that the Qutab Minar was notified as a protected monument on January 16, 1914, under the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act, 1904. Whereas Section 3 of the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites Remains Act, 1958 brings all monuments declared protected under the AMP Act, 1904 under its ambit, and thus provision of the AMASR Act, 1958 shall apply to all such monuments notified under the AMP Act, 1904.

Cause Title: Tirthankar Lord Rishabh Dev Through Next Friend Hari Shankar Jain & Anr Vs. Union of India & Ors.