Prayagraj: The Allahabad High Court has given a significant ruling in the long-standing dispute over the land where Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi and Shahi Idgah are located in Mathura. The court has ordered a survey of the disputed site by three court commissioners, advocates appointed by the court. The court has also directed the commissioners to submit a report within three months.
Background of the dispute
The dispute involves 13.37 acres of land in Katra Keshav Dev, where Hindus believe Lord Shri Krishna was born. A temple dedicated to Shri Krishna was built on the site. Still, it was allegedly demolished by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th century and a mosque, known as Shahi Idgah, was constructed in its place. The temple was rebuilt in 1958 adjacent to the mosque after an agreement was signed between the parties in 1968. However, some Hindu groups have challenged the validity of the agreement and have sought the removal of the mosque and the restoration of the entire land to the temple.
Petitions in the High Court
The High Court is hearing 18 petitions related to the Mathura dispute, which were transferred from the Mathura District Court in May 2023. The leading suit was filed by Ranjan Agnihotri on behalf of Shri Krishna Virajman, the deity who is considered the owner of the land. The suit has named Shahi Idgah Mosque, UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Seva Sangh and Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Sangh as the defendants. The suit has claimed that the agreement of 1968 was illegal and fraudulent and has demanded the handover of the entire land to Shri Krishna Virajman. The suit has also sought the removal of the mosque, which it has termed as an illegal encroachment.
Order of the High Court
On November 16, 2023, the single bench of Justice Mayank Kumar Jain heard an application filed by Shri Krishna Virajman, seeking a survey of the disputed site by an advocate commissioner. The application was argued by Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, who contended that the survey was necessary to ascertain the exact location and dimensions of the temple and the mosque. The court reserved its order on the application and pronounced it on December 14, 2023. The court allowed the application and ordered a survey of the disputed site by three court commissioners, advocates named by the court. The court also directed the commissioners to submit a report within three months and to maintain the status quo of the site during the survey. The court further stated that the survey would not affect the case’s merits and that the court would hear the other petitions on December 18, 2023.