By- Shashank Mohan
In Suo moto case taken up by the Patna High Court in the form of PIL seeking the direction of the court on the demolition of Waqf Bhawan constructed close to the northern side of the newly constructed centenary building of the High Court. A five Judge bench was constituted that came up with the decision to demolish the Waqf Bhawan by a 4:1 Judgement and directed the Chief secretary to inquire for non-legal compliances.
Facts: The construction of a G+3 structure building or the waqf Bhawan was duly constructed after the Bihar State Building Construction Corporation Limited prepared a map, approved by the Minority Welfare Department. A cost of 14,67,86,000/- rupees were sanctioned by construction dept.
Important Issues Raised:
Whether the building was duly authorised a government Architect under the bye laws 8 (1) (A).
Whether the entire building should be demolished or only the construction above 10 meters in height be directed to be demolished.
Whether the Patna Municipal Corporation has sanctioned the construction plan of the building.
Majority Judgement: The court clearly stated after the listening to the amicus curie that it is the utter and brazen violation across the statutes from central Acts to section 32 of the Waqf Act, 1995 and finally bye law 21. The court held; they have not been able to show any Act, Rule, Bye-law, Circular or Notification whatsoever defining the term, much less than an Architect employed by the Building Corporation is a Government Architect.
The court also ruled out the irregularity point raised in the dissenting judgement as it held that the very construction of the building is invalid as per law so there is no question of irregularity.
Emphasis was given on the safety and security of the judges and staffs given the proximity and invalid sanction of plan. Preservation of Historical monuments and loss to Public Exchequer was also highlighted.