In a jolt to city police, the Delhi high court on Friday dismissed the plea to modify an earlier order asking it provide help and security to the Archeological Survey of India in razing an illegal mosque built in a park in national capital to ascertain whether remains of Mughal-era Akbarabadi masjid existed there.
Terming the plea as "infructuous" to "large extent", a three-judge bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said "the application is accordingly dismissed."
Police had in its plea sought postponement of the order on grounds including that the holy month of Ramzan was on and moreover, it had to prepare for the Independence Day and the fast of Baba Ramdev in adjacent Ramlila Ground.
It had also sought a direction that instead of police, Shoaib Iqbal, a local MLA who allegedly incited mob to trespass and build the structure, be asked to remove it.
"In our view, it is the bounden duty of the Delhi Police to ensure that peace is maintained and yet law of the land is not breached holding out threats of possible repercussions.
"On examination of the averments in the application, to a large extent the application has become infructuous. This is so as the reasons stated for delay in action no more exist as those events are over," the bench, also comprising Justices Rajiv Shakdher and M L Mehta, said.
While disposing of a plea of North Delhi Municipal Corporation seeking a direction to police to provide security in razing the structure, the court said police "will have to make necessary arrangement" for executing the order.
"We have dismissed the application filed by Delhi Police. The sequitur is that Delhi Police will have to make necessary arrangement for NDMC to carry out its task under para 34 (v) of the order dated 30.7.2012 and the statutory mandate be carried out under the supervision of the ASI who is in control of the area," it said.
Quoting a Supreme Court judgement, the bench said "we cannot put it in better words."
The judgement read: "It will destroy respect for the rule of law and the authority of courts and seek to place individual authority and strength of number above the wisdom of law. This is courting disaster, fratricidal wars, civil commotion, disruption of everything that we hold sacred. The highest cherished value of our nationhood which is tolerance will be distorted by such misguided enthusiasm."
Besides the pleas of Delhi police and NDMC, the court also decided various applications filed by MLA Sohaib Iqbal, S S Sai Baba Omjee and Mahant Naval Kishore, General Secretary of Delhi Sant Maha Mandal.
The lawmaker, in his pleas, had sought constitution of a committee of eminent citizens to oversee the investigation of Archaeological Survey of India.
Besides various reliefs, the MLA had also said the "status quo" at the site be maintained and devotees be allowed to offer prayer there.
"We have already examined all these issues in our order dated 30.7.2012 which needs no reconsideration. The ASI is already looking into the veracity of the claims and the counter-claims. This is a technical job. There is no reason to doubt the objectivity or competency of the ASI.
"Thus, at least at present, there is no need for having a a super-committee of citizens to oversee the task being carried out by the ASI nor is there any requirement of a Local Commissioner to take photographs as the ASI is doing the needful..," it said.
Rejecting one of the pleas, it said "the construction has been made taking advantage of the prevalent position by encroaching on public land. The prescribed user is a park for that area. It has also been pointed out to us that the area forms a part of the Jama Masjid Redevelopment Plan which seeks to restore the area to its original glory."