gujarat high court

Gujarat High Court: In a civil application filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, by a trustee of the Samasth Sunni Muslim Trust against the impugned notice of the Senior Town Planner, Junagadh Municipal Corporation, for removal of the illegal encroachment of the Dargah on public road which has existed for more than 100 years, the Single Judge Bench of Vaibhavi D. Nanavati, J., issued notice to the authorities concerned.

The object of the Samasth Sunni Muslim Jamat Trust/Waqf is to protect the Dargah and other Islamic monuments of the District Junagadh. The case of the petitioner is that the Collector, Office of the City Survey Superintendent, Junagadh Municipal Corporation and the Senior Town Planner (‘respondent authorities’) had started illegal demolition drive targeting the religious structures of the minority community. On 13-04-2023, the Junagadh Municipal Corporation demolished the Jangalshah Pir Dargah under the guise of beautification of the Narsinh Mehta Lake, illegally and without following due process of law, principles of natural justice.

Since the petitioner was apprehending further illegal demolitions, the Court issued a notice on 04-05-2023 to the respondents. However, the Senior Town Planner affixed a notice dated 14-06-2023 on the premises of Hazrat Jamiyalsadatar Dargah and Hazrat Gebansha Pir Dargah and notice dated 16-06-2023 was affixed on the premises of Datar Bapu Dargah, stating that the Dargah was encroaching the public road. The Dargah authorities were directed to submit documents within period of five days, failing which, the Dargah would be removed by exercising power under Sections 210 and 266 of the Gujarat Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, 1949 (‘GPMC Act’). Therefore, the petitioner was aggrieved by the illegal and unconstitutional demolitions, contrary to the provisions of the GPMC Act, the Waqf Act, 1995 and the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. The petitioner was seeking direction to the respondent authorities to follow the due process of law and principles of natural justice before taking any action, in pursuance to the notices issued on 14-06-2023 and 16-06-2023.

The Court noted that the petitioner had appeared before the respondent authorities and filed a reply to the said notices dated 14-06-2023 and 16-06-2023. The Court issued notice to the respondent authorities. The matter was further listed for hearing on 27-06-2023.

[Samasth Sunni Muslim Trust Through Trustee Asifbhai Valimahmmadbhai Sandh v. State of Gujarat, 2023 SCC OnLine Guj 1788, Order dated: 20-06-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Petitioner: Advocate Rizvan Shaikh.

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