Why did you take law in your hands: SC to Iqbal

Subhash park Orders status quo till Thursday, waits for govt views on MLA's plea to keep structure intact

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reproached Delhi MLA Shoaib Iqbal for erecting an illegal structure at Subhash Park near Red Fort, on the purported ruins of a Mughal-era Akbarabadi mosque.

A bench led by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir took umbrage at the fact that the MLA, along with his supporters, had chosen to put up a structure without seeking an appropriate order from the court concerned.

"Why did you not go to the court? You could have asked for an injunction if you considered that you had to protect a religious structure or things like that. Why did you take law into your own hands? You cannot go and start putting up bricks anywhere you feel like only because you think it's your duty to protect something," the bench said.

It told Iqbal's counsel that even though the court could appreciate their anxiety to protect a structure which they thought was religious, they should not have bypassed the legal process.

The court ordered a status quo on the disputed site till Thursday, so that the Centre, Delhi government and the ASI get an opportunity to adduce their views on Iqbal's plea not to raze the structure till a study regarding the spot was completed and his claims of the existence of an Akbarabadi mosque verified.

S S Omji, one of the petitioners in the case, sought dismissal of Shoaib Iqbal's petition and said Iqbal has breached the court's orders and should not be indulged. Citing a notice from the ASI, the North Municipal Corporation said the structure was illegal and an encroachment on public land.

The court was hearing an appeal by Iqbal, who is facing contempt proceedings in the Delhi High Court for trespassing and building a mosque on government land.

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