New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today asked the Centre to produce the relevant records, including order on construction of the court complex, to ascertain since when a mosque has been in existence in its premises.
A bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Rani issued the direction to Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and Land and Development Officer on a petition questioning whether the precincts of the High Court can be used by any community to profess and practice their religion.
"Direction is issued to respondents to produce relevant records containing letter/order by which a land has been allotted for the construction of the Delhi High Court," it said, adding that the "layout plan originally conceived shall also be produced".
Central government Standing Counsel Anil Soni, appearing for MoUD and Land and Development Officer, accepted notice and agreed to comply with the direction.
The court has now fixed March 25 as the next date of hearing in the matter.
MoUD and Land and Development Officer were impleaded in the matter on the oral submission by the lawyer for Delhi High Court registry who said the government has the original lease records.
Earlier, the court had asked its registry to collect and place before it the original lease deed of the court complex.
The court's order came on the public interest petition filed by one Ajay Gautam alleging that religious activity in the mosque inside the High Court premises "has been going on for a long time without there being any formal approval for the same from the officials of the court or from any other competent authority".
The PIL has sought that directions be issued prohibiting offer of prayers at the mosque as well as its demolition on the grounds that it is not an ancient structure and is a security threat to the court premises.