The Delhi High Court on Thursday granted time to the Centre and Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to place their stands on a plea by the managing committee of the Delhi Waqf Board against the stopping of offering namaz by devotees at Mughal Mosque in South Delhi's Mehrauli area.

Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri was informed by the counsel for the Centre and ASI that they would take instructions on the issue. The Court listed the matter for further hearing on July 25.

During the hearing, the Court sought to know whether the petitioner has made any representation to the authorities to which the counsel of the board responded that they have given several representations.

The Managing Committee of Delhi Waqf Board, represented through advocate M Sufian Siddiqui, said the issue pertains to the Mughal Mosque situated within the 'Qutub Complex' but outside the 'Qutub Enclosure'.

The Counsel said it is not the contentious 'Quwattul Islam Mosque' and is a duly gazette notified waqf property that has a duly appointed Imam and Moazin.

The lawyer submitted that namaz was regularly performed at the mosque and has never been closed for worship. However, the officials of ASI in an absolutely unlawful, arbitrary and precipitous manner completely stopped the namaz on May 13, 2022, without serving any notice or order, he said.

He submitted that the fundamental rights of the worshippers stand violated continuously.

The plea sought to restrain the authorities from "causing any obstruction or interference in the performance of 'namaz' at the mosque in question, that is, a waqf property notified as 'Masjid adjacent to Eastern Gate of Qutab Minar, Mehrauli' in Delhi Administration's Gazette Notification."

"Significantly, there is no disruption of public order while prayers are offered every day without breaking law and order. The usage of the instant mosque for the purposes of worship is in no way causing any defacement or any adverse effects on the heritage of the nation, " the plea said.

It said, "denial of opportunity to Muslims to offer namaz in the instant mosque is a form of violence and violation of cultural liberty".

"Ergo, the respondent, ASI, in so far as the mosque in question is concerned, has got no authority in law to even regulate, what to say of stopping, the gathering of worshippers at the mosque in question. Therefore, the impugned action of the respondent ASI has no legal backing and is untenable in law. More so, as the said impugned action is ex-facie without any authority in law and illegal," it said.

With PTI inputs