SC bars non-residents from praying in Taj Mahal mosque
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea challenging Agra’s Additional District Magistrate (City) order which barred non-residents from offering Friday prayers in the mosque located inside the Taj Mahal complex.
The apex court said that the monument was one of the seven wonders of the world and it cannot be decimated, adding there are mosques where people can go for prayers.
“This (Taj Mahal) is one of the seven wonders of the world and we do not want this to decimate. We are dismissing it (plea). Why for such prayers, should they go to the Taj Mahal? We are not entertaining this (plea),” a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said, adding, “There are other mosques also. They can offer their prayers there”.
The direction came when the top court was hearing a plea challenging a January 24 order of Agra’s Additional District Magistrate (City) barring non-residents from offering Friday prayers in the mosque on the ground of security of Taj Mahal.
The counsel for petitioner Syed Ibrahim Hussain Zaidi, president of the Taj Mahal Masjid Management Committee, Agra, said that several tourists visited Agra throughout the year and the January 24 order was illegal, arbitrary and unconstitutional.
“The administrative action by way of impugned order dated January 24, 2018 of the respondent making illegal and arbitrary classification between the residents and non-residents on the question of security of the monument is not based on any intelligible or rational principles and being wholly unrelated to the objects sought be achieved. Hence, the said impugned order is liable to be struck down,” the plea said.
The petitioner had also alleged that the order has deprived the non-residents of offering their customary prayer at the mosque which was violative of their fundamental rights.
(With inputs from agencies)