SC orders status quo on Patna HC order to demolish Waqf building

Supreme Court
Supreme Court

New Delhi, Aug 31 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered status quo on a Patna High Court order, which directed demolition of the Waqf building, which is being constructed in the vicinity of the high court’s “centenary building”.

A bench of Justices U.U. Lalit, Ajay Rastogi, and Vikram Nath issued notice to the Bihar government, Chief Secretary, the Registrar General of the Patna High Court and others on an appeal filed by Bihar State Sunni Waqf Board.

The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on October 18.

The appeal, filed through advocate Ejaz Maqbool, said: “It is submitted that while rendering the impugned judgment, the High Court not only travelled beyond the four issues framed by it but also proceeded to direct demolition of the entire structure of the proposed Wakf Bhawan Building, solely due to the reason that the building was in excess of 10 metres height which was in violation of Bye Law No 21 of the Bihar Building Bye-Laws, 2014.

The plea contended that the entire project was undertaken in consonance with Section 32 of the Wakf Act, 1995 and with the due sanction of the map/plan by a government architect.

“It is relevant to mention that the direction for demolition of the entire building was given even though the petitioner Wakf Board as well as all the state authorities had themselves agreed to demolish the offending portion of the building (i.e. to bring the building within the height of 10 metres),” the plea added.

The petitioner contended that construction plans were approved by the Minority Welfare Department of the state government.

The high court, in March 2021, took suo moto cognizance of the matter and framed four questions. On August 3, it ordered the demolition of the Waqf building within a month. In its 4:1 judgement, the high court held the construction as illegal as per Bihar Building Bye-laws, 2014 and directed the Bihar government to form an inquiry commission to fix responsibility on those government officials who permitted the illegal construction.

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