After reserving verdict in Krishna Janm Bhumi-Shahi Eidgah case Allahabad High Court reopens it for hearing:


Rajesh Pandey

In an unusual development, the Allahabad High Court, after reserving its verdict in Krishna Janmbhoomi-Shahi Eidgah title dispute case reopened the same for hearing, after the counsel for Shahi Eidgah Masjid – Mehmood Pracha moved an application requesting that he be heard in the matter. Accordingly, Justice Mayank Kumar Jain has now fixed June 4, 2024 for hearing him through video conferencing.


Earlier, on Friday (May 31), Tasneem Ahmadi concluded her aruments on behalf of Committee of Management, Shahi Idgah Masjid, which is arrayed as defendant-respondent in original suits. Earlier, on behalf of UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, Afzal Ahmad had already concluded his arguments in the suits, where UP Sunni Central Waqf Board is arrayed as defendant.


Thereafter, Mehmood Pracha, the counsel addressed the court through video conferencing on behalf of Committee of Management, Shahi Idgah Masjid and concluded the same. The court had also heard the counsels for Hindu side plaintiffs – Hari Shankar Jain, Rina N Singh, Saurabh Tiwari and others at length.


After the aforesaid proceedings, in the open court, Justice Mayank Kumar Jain on Friday (May 31) communicated to the counsel for the parties that the order is being reserved.


However, after conclusion of arguments and reserving the order in the open court, an application was filed on behalf of Committee of Management, Shahi Idgah Masjid, with the prayers to “issue appropriate directions to ensure that the right of audience through video conferencing of Mehmood Pracha, whose vakalatnama is on the record is not obstructed in any manner”.


The prayer also added that the defendant’s right to be heard is protected by appropriate measures through video recording of the proceedings.


The court noted that Mehmood Pracha remained present through video conferencing on several occasions and was also present in person before the court. He had ample opportunity to argue the matter, the court added.


The court further made it clear, saying that “The right of audience to any of the counsel, who desired to appear and argue the matter through video conferencing, was never obstructed as the entire hearing, which commenced from February 22, 2024 was conducted in the present of the parties to the suits as well as their respective counsels “.


However, keeping in view the principle of transparency, the court accepted the request of Mehmood Pracha, saying, “However, in view of the phrase ‘justice should not only be done but must also be seen to be done’ and in order to do complete justice in the matter, this court feels appropriate to provide an opportunity to Mehmood Pracha, advocate to address the court through Video Conferencing”.


However, the court made it clear that that for any reason, whatsoever, no further opportunity shall be accorded to him.


In this backdrop, the court directed the registry of this court to inform counsel for the parties and all concerned about the date fixed in the matter forthwith, so that they may be present on the date fixed.


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