Hubballi Ganeshotsav Row: Karnataka HC rejects plea seeking a la Supreme Court relief

Insight Online News

Dharwad, Aug 30 : The Dharwad Bench of Karnataka High Court on late Tuesday night negatived the plea of Muslim petitioners who sought to draw parallels to the Bengaluru Idgah Maidan with respect to Supreme Court’s order saying no to Ganeshotsav till the title of the land is settled.

Hearing the case in his chamber at 10 pm, Justice Ashok S Kinagi allowed Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at Hubballi Idgah after noting that the land in question belongs to the Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC).

“It is not in dispute that property belongs to the respondent. Petitioner is admitted the title of respondent. From the perusal of the judgment (in a title suit), it is clear that respondent is owner of the property. The petitioner is the licensee and permitted to use (the land) only on two occasions,” the Court said in its order passed at 11.30 pm.

Since it is HDMC’s property which is being used for carrying out regular activities and has not been declared as a place of worship, no status quo can be granted with respect to the same, the Court ruled.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court remanded a similar case pertaining to Ganeshotsav at Bengaluru’s Idgah Maidan, observing that the title of the land is unsettled.

When the matter taken up by Justice Kinagi, the Muslim petitioners sought relief in their plea in the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s interim order.

The HDMC, however, distinguished the case from Bengaluru Idgah Maidan. “There’s no dispute about the title? So, facts are different,” the judge asked. “Absolutely no dispute. They only had possession. It is the exclusive property of the corporation,” the respondent-counsel submitted.

The Muslim petitioners conceded that while it is HDMC’s property, the Commissioner should have heard the petitioner’s objections before passing the order.

Earlier in the day, Justice Kinagi had allowed the Municipal Commissioner to consider the applications received for installation of Ganesha Idol, holding religious and cultural activities in the property in question for a limited period.

The single-judge had passed the order in view of a similar order passed by a division bench of the High Court with respect to Bengaluru Idgah.

However, the single-judge had noted that an appeal against the division bench order was slated to be heard by the Supreme Court.

The single-judge had, therefore, granted liberty to the petitioners to mention the matter again in the event of the Supreme Court passing an order.

The Supreme Court had subsequently ordered status quo with respect to Bengaluru Idgah.

UNIINDIA

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