SC sees no merit in plea to transfer case on Old Delhi disputed structure

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea to transfer to another Bench a petition by Delhi MLA Shoaib Iqbal, who has challenged an order to demolish a disputed structure on the purported ruins of the Mughal-era Akbarabadi mosque near Red Fort.

A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, rejected the application by S S Omji, one of the petitioners before the Delhi High Court, after underlining that there was no merit in his plea and that his apprehensions lacked any reasonable basis.

"There is no merit in this application. We will dismiss it right away," the Bench said, while ordering a status quo on the demolition order until December 5, the next date of hearing.

The court said senior advocate L Nageshwar Rao has been appointed as legal aid lawyer to represent Omji in the matter. It will consider the request that two more senior lawyers to be appointed as amicus curiae in the case to assist the court.

Iqbal, the Matia Mahal legislator, also moved an application before the court, requesting restoration of his VIP security cover in view of the recent developments pertaining to the structure.

Refusing to pass any interim direction in this regard, the Bench issued notices to the Central and Delhi governments and sought their response.

Appearing for the Delhi government, Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra assured the court that they would look into the threat perception of Iqbal and provide him additional security if required.

While the court decided some miscellaneous applications, including the one moved by Omji, it could not conduct further hearing into the matter since senior advocate Aman Lekhi's affidavit had not come on record.

On the last date, the court had sought to know who had carried out the digging at the site at Subhash Park near Red Fort where the illegal structure had been built. It asked Lekhi to file an affidavit, explaining how he got to know that it was Iqbal who, along with his supporters, had dug up the area.

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