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Key Takeaways

  • Basic facts of the case.
  • The matter of dispute in the concerned case.
  • The 1968 Compromise Agreement.
  • Court rulings in the matter till date.

Introduction

Shree Krishna Janmbhoomi and Shahi Idgah dispute is about the ownership of 13.37 acres of land, which the petitioners claim that it belongs to the deity Lord Shri Krishna Virajman. Shree Krishna Janmabhoomi Sthal is a place in Mathura that is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna. A grand temple had been built over that area and Shahi Idgah is just next to the temple. The DistrictCourt of Mathura will take the cognizance of the revenue records as well as the validity of the ‘1968 Compromise Agreement’ between Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sangh (which is a temple management authority registered as a society under the law) and the Trust Masjid Idgah; in which the temple authority capitulated the contentious portion of the temple land to Shahi Idgah. The current dispute is that, the 1968compromise is not valid and since the Temple trust (Shri Krishna Janmsthan Trust) that was established in 1958, holds the ownership of the land; the temple management authority had no power to enter into such an agreement. The Mosque is said to stand at the temple place in dispute. The civil suit filed in 2020 alleged that the Committee of Management of Trust Masjid Idgah illegally encroached upon the land of Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi with the consent of the Sunni Central Waqf Board by entering into an illegal agreement on October 12, 1968, with the Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sangh. An application has been made in the Court of Civil Judge, seeking an appointment of a senior advocate as an Advocate-Commissioner and a video survey of the Shahi Idgah is requested to be done to find if Hindu Religious symbols are present within the Mosque or not. This request has been made referring to the Varanasi Court’s order in the Gyanvapi Masjid case.

Background of the Case

Bhagwan Sri Krishna Virajman and Another v. U.P. Sunni Central Waqf Board and 3 Others

Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi is a place where Lord Shri Krishna is believed to be born. The temple area is spread across 13.37 acres and the Shahi Idgah is situated next to it, which was built by Aurangzeb in 1670 after demolishing the Keshavdas Temple. In the petitions filed before the District Court in Mathura, it has been claimed that the Shahi Idgah stands at the place of the temple where the Hindu devotees must be allowed to pray. In the matter before the Court, the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 was said to be unconstitutional because it not only prohibits the conversion of any place of worship but also provides for the maintenance of the religious character of the places of worship as existed on 15 August 1947.The petitioners claimed that the Mosque is built after demolishing a part of the Temple and therefore, demanded the removal of Shahi Idgah and the return of the Temple land. Till date, 9 cases have been filed in Mathura District Court in the concerned matter.

Ranjana Agnihotri, a resident of Lucknow, along with six others, also filed a petition as “next friend of Bhagwan Shri Krishna Virajman” regarding the same matter before the Civil Judge in Mathura in 2021, which was dismissed by the Court holding that, since none of the petitioners were from Mathura, the suit was not maintainable as they did not have a valid stake in the matter. This decision was then challenged before the District Court where the Trust and Temple Management Authority were made parties to the lawsuit. Gopal Khandelwal, the lawyer on behalf of the petitioners, referring to the 1968 compromise, stated that“As worshippers of Lord Krishna, we have the right to file a suit demanding restoration of his property. The mosque was wrongly built on Krishna Janmabhoomi. There was a compromise several years ago on the sharing of property, but that compromise was illegal”. The petitioners contended that the people having faith in the Hindu religion have got right to have darshan,and worship at the actual birthplace of Lord Shri Krishna under Article 25 of The Indian Constitution (Right to Religion).

The 1968 Compromise

The dispute over the ownership of 13.37 acres of land, on which both the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple and the Shahi Idgah are situated, had been persisting for around the last eight decades.The land was bought by Yugal Kishore Birla, an industrialist, in 1944, and in 1955, he launched Shri Krishnabhoomi Trust to construct a temple at that place. Eventually, Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sangh which was formed in the year 1958 started performing the entire roles that were assigned to the Trust. It filed a suit in 1964, regarding the matter concerned however, four years later, the Seva Sangh made a settlement with the Muslim parties. In 1968, the Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sangh and the Trust Masjid Idgah entered into a “compromise agreement” in furtherance of which the Temple management authority surrendered the contentious portion of land to the Idgah. This agreement deprived the temple authority of all the legal rights over the land on which Mosque was to be built.

The matter is yet to be decided. The District and Sessions Judge, Rajiv Bharti had allowed the revision of the lower Court’s order and directed the Court to register the suit as a regular suit. The matter is therefore to be heard inthe lower Court in Mathura, in which the revenue records and the validity of 1968’s “compromise agreement” will be dealt with.

Conclusion

Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi is a place that holds the belief of a large number of Hindus throughout the country as well as of the people from all over the worldsinceit is a beliefthat Lord Krishna was born at this place. It is not only a historicbut also a religious place ofextreme importance in the Hindu religion. Like the twelve Jyotirlingas, among which Kashi Vishwanath Temple is also the one and the fifty-one Shaktipeethas of Goddess Durga; Shri Krishna Janmbhoomi Temple is also not an ordinary temple, but a temple of great importance for Hindus. On the other hand, Like the Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi and Babari Masjid in Ayodhya, the Shahi Idgah is also a historic place of worship and therefore, holds animmense belief of the Muslims. Thus, any action taken in furtherance of the concerned matter might incite the different religious groups; however, the Hon’ble Court concerned with the matter is expected to decide validly over the same taking into consideration the historic facts of the case as well as the religious sentiments of both parties.


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