‘630 idols seized by police examined so far’

Chennai: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) informed the Madras High Court Thursday that 630 idols seized by the idol wing of the state police have so far been inspected by it.

Assistant Solicitor General G Karthikeyan submitted a copy of the communication from ASI Regional Director (South) M Nambirajan before Justice R Mahadevan stating that the idols had been inspected.

A memo had earlier been filed by the idol wing seeking a direction from the court to the ASI for determining the age of the seized idols.

The court had ordered the completion of the task on or before October 24.

Giving details about the inspections, the ASI said 404 objects were from the Icon Centre, Panthanallur, 25 from Mariamman Temple, Punnainallur, 41 from the Big Temple, Thanjavur, and 160 from Icon Centre, Tiruvarur.

The inspection included physical examination, observation of stylistic features, ornamentation, patination and inscription (if any), comparison with old available records and discussion among experts and scientific analysis.

The high court, while hearing the case in the wake of the thefts of idols from temples, had ordered the Tamil Nadu government to appoint Pon Manickavel as the inspector general of the idol wing to carry out a probe.

More than 1,000 idols from 387 temples across the state were stolen in the last 25 years despite enhanced security measures, the government had informed the court.

HC directs ASI to finish temple repair work by June 2

The Orissa High Court today directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to complete by June 2 the repair work of the prayer hall of the Jagannath Temple at Puri.

Last September, the ASI had told the high court that the repair work it was undertaking in the temple was likely to be over by June 2017. However, following reports of discrepancies in reality and affidavits filed by the ASI, the court last month had asked the ASI to file a fresh progress report.

After going through the ASI’s latest status report and the report filed by engineer-turned-advocate N K Mohanty, a bench headed by Chief Justice Vineet Saran directed it to complete the repair work by June 2.

The high court is currently adjudicating over a PIL that has sought judicial interventions and monitoring of the repair work of the prayer hall or ‘Jagamohan’ of the 12th-century shrine.

A native of Cuttack city had approached the high court after it was alleged that the ASI was not serious about the renovation and maintenance of the temple.

Source:PTI

No other city has a long history as Delhi, says Delhi HC

No other city has a long history as Delhi, says Delhi HC
No other city has a long history as Delhi, says Delhi HC

No other city has a long history as Delhi, the High Court said here today, as it pulled up the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) over its failure to maintain and preserve the historic Tughlakabad Fort and protect it from illegal encroachment.

“No other city including Bombay (Mumbai) and Kolkata has so long a history as Delhi has, and it needs to be protected by the authorities concerned for the future generation of this country,” a bench of Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Ashutosh Kumar said.

“Over a period of time, the place was encroached upon and rampant illegal construction carried out by many people,” it said, adding that “no construction of any nature whatsoever, is allowed to be undertaken in this area by anybody. They (historic sites) are the pride of Indians and places of public visit.”

Taking a strong note of the inability expressed by ASI to stop encroachments, the court said it would be better to demolish the fort.

Te fort has been declared a protected monument and hence it was the legal as well as ethical obligation of the concerned authorities to protect this heritage site and maintain it properly, it said.

The court was hearing pleas by local resident S N Bhardwaj and ‘Gram Vikas Sangathan’ over alleged inaction of ASI to protect, maintain and preserve the Tughlakabad Fort.

According to the petitioners, various illegal occupants have entered the fort premises and constructed their houses with a view to grab the government land for dwelling purposes.

The court was told that the fort was likely to be completely ruined, causing national loss to ancient Indian heritage and its composite culture.

“The idea to protect the history is to improve tourism as no other city has so many historical buildings like Delhi has.

So efforts should be made to attract tourists and give them a good account of our past and glory of the people of India as a message to the other countries and territories,” the court observed.

( Source – PTI )

UP seeks SC nod for beautification of Taj Mahal

A notice to the Centre and Archaeological Survey of India has issued by the Supreme Court of India seeking their responses to Uttar Pradesh government’s plea for its permission for beautification of areas near the Taj Mahal.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir also sought a response from central pollution control board on the state government’s plea.

Two applications were filed by the state government seeking permission from the apex court to develop Taj Nature Walk and Taj Heritage Corridor Area (Mumtaj Eco Park) near the white marble mausoleum located. Taj Mahal, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz, is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Earlier, the Mayawati government had also planned beautification of areas near the Taj through Taj Corridor Project but it was mired in corruption charges and a CBI inquiry was directed into it by the apex court.

Mosque row: Excavation not yet started, ASI tells HC

The Archaeological Survey of India said to the Delhi High Court that it has not yet started excavation on a site near Red Fort to ascertain whether remains of a Mughal-era mosque existed there in view of lack of clarity on an apex court order on status quo.

“The excavation of the site, as directed by the high court, has not been undertaken following the Supreme Court order to maintain status quo,” the counsel for ASI told a bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

The ASI informed the court that it has moved an application in the apex court seeking clarification of the order asking authorities to maintain status quo at a place inside Subhash Park here where local MLA Shoaib Iqbal and his supporters allegedly trespassed and built a mosque claiming that remnants of Akbarabadi masjid were found there during Metro construction work.

The court, meanwhile, disposed of a plea seeking to initiate contempt proceedings against Delhi Police Commissioner for allegedly making contradictory statements in the Supreme Court and in the High Court on providing security to lawmaker Iqbal.

It also directed the Union Home Ministry to “assess” the alleged security threat to a petitioner in the case with 10 days.

North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), which owns the park in the walled city area where DMRC was conducting the excavation relating to a metro project, also cited the apex court order on the issue.

Earlier, Iqbal had moved the Supreme Court against the High Court order asking MCD to demolish the illegal structure with the help of police to facilitate a probe by ASI of the ruins of a mosque allegedly found during the excavation work undertaken by DMRC. The court ordered staus quo at the site on his plea.

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Delhi police, said that the matter be kept at abeyance as the Supreme Court is seized with it.

“We are also awaiting the Supreme Court order. We don’t believe in adjourning the matter sine die (adjourning the case without fixing a future date of hearing) as the matter goes out of sight. We will fix it after the date of hearing in the Supreme Court,” the bench, also comprising justices Rajiv Shakdher and M L Mehta, said.

Supreme Court orders status quo at excavated site near historic Jama Masjid

Pulling up a legislator for taking the law into his hands, the Supreme Court ordered status quo over a structure built near the excavated remains of a purported Mughal-era mosque near the historic Jama Masjid.

An apex court bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice S.S. Nijjar and Justice J. Chelameswar asked all the parties to maintain status quo till Thursday when the matter would come up for hearing.

The court order on status quo came on the petition by Delhi legislator Shoaib Iqbal challenging the Sep 19 Delhi High Court order directing the demolition of the structure in Subhash Park.

The high court Sep 19 reiterated its July 30 order, directing the demolition of a wall constructed allegedly by Iqbal and his supporters for what they called protecting the purported mosque, whose remains were discovered during digging by Delhi Metro.
Ordering status quo.

“We would like to hear the views of the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India, the Delhi government and the Union of India and, thereafter, we will go into the details.”

The court pulled up Iqbal and said: “Why did you take the law into your hand? You think that you can do anything you like. Why did you do that. Duty is not cast upon you to do illegal things.”

Chief Justice Kabir slammed Iqbal when senior counsel Anoop Chaudhari, who appeared for Iqbal, mentioned the matter in the post-lunch session in the court.

Chief Justice Kabir said to Chaudhari “You could have taken injunction but you take law in your hand”

The senior counsel urged the court to rule that the wall built to protect the mosque’s remains be preserved till the high court decided the issue. Chaudhari told the court that no activity was going on at the site.

On a poser, the court was told that it was a public land and was being used as a park.
Iqbal in his petition contended that the demolition of the wall may lead to “communal violence, disruption of peace and harmony through out the country…”. He said that this was also the view of police.

Some residents claim that the excavated remains are that of the 17th century Mughal-era Akbarabadi mosque. The high court has asked the ASI to verify the claim.

 

By PTI

Civic agency slams police in court over illegal structure

The north Delhi civic agency Thursday told the Delhi High Court that police had failed to help it in removing illegal construction from the site of a purported mosque excavated near the historic Jama Masjid here.

The North Delhi Municipal Corporation agency sought the direction of the court to the central government to provide paramilitary in case police failed to provide assistance for removal of the illegal structure.

The structure was allegedly built by legislator Shoaib Iqbal at the excavation site at Subhash Park, near the Jama Masjid, where the ruins of a purported 17th century mosque were unearthed.

The civic agency filed an application saying that police were not co-operative and blamed them for failing to comply with the court’s July 30 order for giving protection to the demolition team.

A special bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice M.L. Mehta reserved the order after hearing all the parties.

Police, who have been reluctant on the demolition on the grounds of apprehension of breach of peace, asked the court to keep its July 30 order on demolition in abeyance till the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) filed its final report on the remains of a building found at the excavation site.

Showing helplessness to provide force to the North Municipal Corporation of Delhi to remove the structure, as directed by the court, police earlier cited their pre-occupation with security arrangements in the month of Ramadan and ahead of the Independence Day.

The ASI sought more time to file the final report. It told the court that the illegal structure was required to be removed first for it to start the excavation at the site.

The ASI counsel told the court that IIT-Kanpur, which had been asked to carry out a ‘ground penetrating radar survey’ to detect the structure below the surface “had fixed Oct 20 to conduct the survey and after it completes the work, the ASI would file its final report by the month-end”.

Counsel appearing for Iqbal told the court that the structure was built by the locals but not at his instance and the court should pass any order after the ASI’s final report.

The court July 30 asked the ASI and the civic agency to remove the structure, and instructed police to provide protection to the demolition team.

The construction had come up over the purported ruins of another structure believed to be from the Mughal era. It had surfaced during the digging work for a Delhi Metro station.

The court handed over the site to the ASI to ascertain if the ruins were indeed the remains of the Akbarabadi mosque from the Mughal era.

Monuments to be illuminated for girl child day

To observe the first ever International Day for the Girl Child, four monuments in Delhi and Hyderabad will be illuminated pink Oct 11, Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor said Tuesday.

Qutub Minar, Humayun`s Tomb and Purana Quila in Delhi and Charminar in Hyderabad will be illuminated pink Thursday (Oct 11), said Anil Kapoor, goodwill ambassador for NGO – Plan India.

The buildings are being illuminated to spread the message of protecting the girl child.

“This is a subject close to my heart. I will say women are definitely superior to men. They should not just be supported but worshiped,” Anil Kapoor said.

Superintending Archaeologist with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) D.N. Dimri said: “We would like to associate in future in such activities as well. Next year, we would like to have more monuments lit.”

This year Oct 11 will be for the first time celebrated as the international day for the girl child.

IIT-Kanpur to probe presence of Mughal structure in Delhi park

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Friday told the Delhi High Court that the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur would carry out a survey to ascertain if there any Mughal-era mosque structure existed near Subhash Park in central Delhi.

The ASI submitted its status report in a sealed cover to a special bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice Rajiv Shakdher saying that IIT-Kanpur will conduct a ground penetration radar survey of the site and submit its report by the end of September.

It further submitted that after IIT-Kanpur submit its report, the ASI will start its work on the site.

During the course of hearing, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation cleared its stand on the issue and said that it is ready to comply with the court’s July 30 order to demolish the illegal structure that came up in the park but sought police assistance for the purpose.

The court July 30 asked the ASI and the corporation to remove the structure, and instructed police to provide protection to the demolition team.

Counsel for the civic agency said that the agency is not into the matter of mosque or temple and it is not favouring any religion.

“Let police provide us force and we will demolish the structure within two hours,” MCD added asking court to fix date and time of demolition of illegal structure.

Meanwhile, the court abruptly adjourned the case for next Friday after lawyers and people of both the parties affected the decorum of court.

During the arguments of senior advocate K.T.S. Tulsi appearing for legislator Shoaib Iqbal, other parties including lawyers present in the court and supporters of both the sides raised objection to his submission to allow prayers on the disputed land.

“Though we have started hearing the matter, we have to abruptly adjourn the matter because of presence of large number of people in the court which is creating disturbance in smooth functioning of the proceedings,” said the court in its order.

The order further stated: “It has created atmosphere of indiscipline. And is affecting court decorum. Influenced by their presence, even at times there is an attempt to play to the gallery. We feel that hearing can not take place in such an atmosphere and in a matter like this, there is no need for such large gathering.”

The bench made it clear that only the counsel appearing for the parties and journalists would be present in the court during the hearing of the case.

The dispute began after the construction had come up over the ruins of another structure believed to be from the Mughal era. It had surfaced during the digging work for a Delhi Metro station.

The court handed over the site to the ASI to ascertain if the ruins were indeed the remains of the Akbarabadi mosque from the Mughal era.

Court seeks action ASI report over mosque

The Delhi High Court Friday asked the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to file a report over the removal of illegal construction at the site of a purported mosque excavated near the historic Jama Masjid here.

Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice Rajiv Shakdher also asked ASI to file a list of articles collected from the disputed land which the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had handed over to ASI.

“ASI to file action taken report in a sealed cover along with the list of articles,” said the bench. The next hearing will be on Aug 31.

The court direction came after the advocate of legislator Shoaib Iqbal said the MCD handed over some articles including a Quran and some antiques to ASI, and that a list of those articles should be produced.

The counsel asked the court to appoint a committee of experts or a retired high court judge to supervise the case and file the report after supervising the issue.

Iqbal told the court he feared the ASI would not investigate the issue in transparent way.

The bench assured him that ASI was a body of experts and its investigation will be impartial.

“For what purpose do you want a committee or retired high court judge to look into the matter when ASI is already doing its task,” the court asked.

“ASI is the only technical body to examine the issue and common people like us cannot do investigation. ASI is a statutory body, you should have faith in the ASI. You should have faith in the court. ASI will work with transparency,” the court said.

ASI’s counsel opposed Iqbal’s demand of seeking a committee to supervise the case, saying that ASI has its own experts. The counsel said: “Before I start work I cannot be doubted.”

The court, however, also said that “even if heaven falls, the rule of law will be enforced,” while hearing applications of Iqbal and police seeking modification of the order passed by the court July 30.

The police had urged the court to tell Iqbal to demolish a structure raised by him at the site.

Iqbal moved the court seeking to restrain the ASI against taking any ‘coercive’ action against the existing structure.

The court July 30 asked the ASI and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to remove the structure, and instructed police to provide protection to the demolition team.

The construction had come up over the ruins of another structure believed to be from the Mughal era. It had surfaced during the digging work for a Delhi Metro station.

The court handed over the site to the ASI to ascertain if the ruins were indeed the remains of the Akbarabadi mosque from the Mughal era.