Mosque row: Excavation not yet started, ASI tells HC
New Delhi: The Archaeological Survey of India on Friday told 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.