SC Closes Proceedings Seeking Interim Relief Against Demolition Near Afzal Khan's Tomb
The Supreme Court today closed the proceedings on an interim plea after taking note of the submissions of Maharashtra authorities that the demolition drive conducted to remove alleged unauthorised structures on government land around the tomb of Afzal Khan, the commander of the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur, has been completed.
"Now the demolition drive has been carried out and hence, so far as the interim application (challenging the demolition) is concerned, actually nothing survives," a bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha said while disposing of the interim plea of Hazrat Mohd Afzal Khan Memorial Society against the demolition drive.
It, however, kept the main appeal of the society pending for adjudication against two Bombay High Court orders asking the state government to demolish the illegal structures in and around the tomb. The Society had claimed the demolition could damage the tomb.
The Apex Court had on November 11 sought reports from the district collector and the deputy conservator of forests of Satara in Maharashtra on the demolition drive conducted to remove alleged unauthorised structures on government land at the site.
At the outset, the bench perused the reports filed by the district collector and the deputy conservator of forests of Satara besides the pictures of the demolition drive and said they showed the extent of illegal constructions on forest land.
Senior Advocate N K Kaul, appearing for the state government, said the tomb of Afzal Khan and another grave, which was found during the demolition drive, are "untouched" and "protected".
Kaul said that two dharamshala', built illegally on the government land, have been demolished.
The Counsel for the Hazrat Mohd Afzal Khan Memorial Society, however, said he will like those razed structures to be re-built as the demolition was illegal.
Initially, the bench was of the view that the society should seek other legal remedy before appropriate forum as nothing survived in the main petition either. Later, it decided to keep the main petition pending when the counsel for the society argued on this aspect.
The Bombay High Court had, in its orders passed on October 15, 2008 and November 11, 2009, ordered the state government authorities to remove illegal structures in and around the tomb.
The state government's appeal against the High Court orders were dismissed on account of delay.
The appeal of the society against these orders of the High Court is pending.
Earlier on November 11, the Apex Court was apprised by the Maharashtra government that the demolition drive, against which the instant plea was moved, was over and illegal structures built on government and forest land were razed.
Afzal Khan was killed by Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj near the Pratapgad Fort in Maharashtra's Satara district and a tomb was built there in his memory later.
With PTI inputs