Supreme Court Upholds Demolition Order for Chennai Mosque, Orders Relocation
Supreme Court Upholds Demolition Order for Chennai Mosque, Orders Relocation

The Supreme Court has upheld the order of the Madras High Court directing the demolition of a mosque and madrasa located in Koyambedu, Chennai. The Supreme Court deemed the structure entirely illegal, stating that unauthorized religious structures can never be a place for religious propagation.

Justices Suryakant and KV Vishwanathan of the Supreme Court heard the appeal against the Madras High Court's order on November 22, 2023. Justice JE Nisha Banu of the Madras High Court had sharply criticized the officials' indifference in this matter.

The High Court in its order had stated, "This Court repeatedly warns the authorities to ensure that no construction is undertaken without proper permits. Despite repeated orders from this Court, the official respondents have turned a blind eye to unauthorized constructions."

Following these observations, the Madras High Court had directed the demolition of the mosque and its relocation to a new area. However, the Muslim community did not agree with the High Court's decision, leading the Haida Muslim Welfare Trust, which oversees the mosque and madrasa, to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court bench reminded the officials of its previous orders, which mandated that no unauthorized constructions in the name of temples, churches, mosques, or gurudwaras should be allowed on public roads or other public places.

Senior counsel S Nagamuthu, representing the appellants, argued that the Trust had purchased the land, causing no inconvenience to the public due to the mosque. He also claimed that the land had been vacant for a long time. However, the court noted that the land had been acquired by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), and the construction was carried out without permission.

The top court stated that the petitioners were not the rightful owners of the property. The land belongs to the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, and the petitioners' possession is unauthorized. The Supreme Court also noted that the petitioners never applied for approval for building construction plans and continued with illegal construction despite notices from the CMDA on December 9, 2020.

The Supreme Court found no reason to interfere with the High Court's order to demolish the mosque based on these grounds. The court has given officials until May 31, 2024, to remove the structure. Senior counsels S Nagamuthu, Priyaranjani Nagamuthu, Shalini Mishra, R Sudhakaran, T Harihar Sudhan, PK Devendran, among others, represented the petitioners.

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