HC pulls up Wakf Board on encroachment in Mehrauli Arch. Park

The Delhi High Court today pulled up Delhi Wakf Board over its failure to remove encroachers from monuments in the Mehrauli Archaeological Park here.

A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar asked the Wakf Board to take action against the people living there illegally and not moving out despite the court's orders.

"You take action. We will see what they are going to do," the bench said.

"Why can't the Board take action? What kind of Waqf Board you are? You cannot even remove such people," the court asked the Board.

It also directed the Board to file a status report on the action they have taken in pursuance to the court's earlier directions.

It said the Board shall also file a status report with regard to the action taken against encroachments in Kala Mahal Masjid.

The bench said the authorities will have to restore the encroached property to the same status as earlier.

Earlier, the bench had directed the authorities, including Delhi government, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to ensure that the entire park is protected and developed into a heritage site.

The court had also asked DDA what action it was taking to protect the park as the land belonged to it. SDMC was directed to identify the monuments in the park which were not identified in the list of geo-tagged photographs given by the Waqf Board.

The court was hearing a plea by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) seeking protection and preservation of the archaeological park, spread over 100 acres and having about 80 monuments.

INTACH has said the monuments in the park range from grand structures like Quli Khan's tomb, Balban's tomb, Maulana Jamali's mosque and tomb and Rajon ki Baoli, to several minor monuments that "together constitute a huge cultural asset and potential heritage recreation space for the city".