Qutub row: Court dismisses plea for review of order on intervention petition

The judge also said the fact that Singh did not find the court’s observation in his favour cannot be a ground for a review of the order

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A court here on Saturday dismissed a plea for a review of its September 20 order that dismissed an intervention application on the Qutub Minar row, saying it was without merits and the applicant had failed to show sufficient grounds for a review.

It also said “a review application cannot be allowed to be an appeal in disguise”.

The court was hearing a plea moved by Kunwar Mahender Dhwaj Pratap Singh, who claimed that he was an heir of the erstwhile ruler of the “United Province of Agra” and the owner of land parcels in several cities in and around Delhi, including the Qutub Minar.

Singh argued that he was a necessary party to an appeal seeking the restoration of Hindu and Jain deities in what was claimed to be a temple inside the Qutub Minar complex.

Singh had filed the review application against the court order that had dismissed the plea on the ground of it being “without merits”.

“I am of the considered opinion that the applicant has failed to show any sufficient ground for a review of the order dated September 20, 2022. The application is without merits and is, therefore, dismissed and disposed of accordingly,” Additional District Judge Dinesh Kumar said.

The judge also said the fact that Singh did not find the court’s observation in his favour cannot be a ground for a review of the order.

The court also rejected the arguments that Singh would suffer an irreparable loss and injury due to its earlier order and that his claim pertained to a “constitutional dispute”.

“The court has already held that the applicant is neither a necessary nor proper party. Therefore, any grievance of the applicant regarding the said finding cannot be a ground to review the order,” it said.

The judge also trashed Singh’s arguments that the Centre and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had filed “evasive replies” and did not disclose his status in their replies.

“The order of the court was not based only on the reply of the Union of India or the appellants and the order was passed after considering the submission of the applicant, which was considered to be not sufficient to implead him as a party in the present appeal,” the judge said.

The other grounds put forward by Singh were also unable to show an error in the earlier order, the judge said, adding that the court cannot review the said order again just to find out whether another view is possible.

“In the present case, as the record would reveal, the applicant has not shown even one ground in the entire application or during the arguments as to why this court has to review the above-mentioned order,” the judge said.

He further said the power of review can be used by a court if there is an error apparent on the face of the record and not because of an erroneous decision.

“Thus, it is a settled position of law that when a party is aggrieved by an order or judgment on the ground that it is erroneous, the only remedy available is to question the said order in the appeal and a review application cannot be allowed to be an appeal in disguise,” the judge added.

The appeal in the present case is against a trial court order that dismissed a suit filed by advocate Hari Shankar Jain on behalf of Jain deity Tirthankar Lord Rishabh Dev, claiming that 27 temples were partly demolished by Qutb ud-Din Aibak, a general in the army of Muhammad Ghori, and the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque was raised inside the complex by re-using the material.

The suit had sought the restoration and worshipping rights of the presiding deities of the 27 temples, along with the performance of regular “puja” within the alleged temple situated in the Qutub Minar complex.

The suit had also sought a decree of mandatory injunction, seeking directions to the government to create a trust and hand over the management and administration of the temple complex to it.

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