Aurangabad HC Stays Order to Ban Namaz in 800-year-old Mosque in Erandol


The court directed the local administration to hand over the mosque keys to the trust. It also issued notice to all respondents. The next hearing will be after two weeks

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday put an interim stay on the order of Jalgaon District Collector banning namaz (prayers) in the 800-year-old Jumma Masjid in Erandol town of Maharashtra.

Advocate S.S. Kazi, representing Jumma Masjid Trust, told Clarion India that Justice R.M. Joshi restored the status of the masjid and stayed Jalgaon District Collector Aman Mittal’s order passed under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The court put a stay on the entire District Collector Mittal’s order and directed the local administration to hand over the mosque keys to the trust. The court has also issued notice to all respondents. The next hearing will be after two weeks, said Kazi.

On 11 July, the district collector issued an order banning namaz in the mosque, which is a registered Waqf property. The collector passed the order following a complaint filed by a Hindutva group, Pandavwada Sangharsh Samiti, claiming that the mosque was built after demolishing a Hindu place of worship. The complainant, Prasad Madhusudan Dandawate, a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal, claimed that Jumma Masjid Trust has “illegally” encroached upon the land.

The mosque trust challenged the collector’s order in the High Court where advocate Kazi maintained that the trust was not given any opportunity by the collector to contest the claims made by the Samiti.

“Our religious rights which we were enjoying since 1861 were taken away. The mosque has been in existence for decades and the Maharashtra government had declared the structure of the masjid as an ancient and historical monument and is enlisted in the schedule of protected monuments. In the ownership column, it is also recorded that the trust and the government both own the property,” argued Kazi.

There are documents in the local administration’s record showing that the administration and the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) had no objection to the namaz being offered on the premises of the mosque, said Kazi. 

The lawyer also stated that the masjid trust has been taking utmost care and there is no complaint received in that regard by the ASI, or even the state government.


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