New Delhi Correspondent
India’s Supreme Court has ruled that only residents of Agra can offer Friday prayers at a mosque inside the Taj Mahal complex in Agra.
A bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said that the Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and people have several other mosques to offer their prayers.
The apex court order came on Monday on a petition challenging an order passed by the Additional District Magistrate (City) of Agra on January 24 this year which said that those who are not residents of Agra would not be allowed to enter the mosque situated inside the Taj Mahal premises for offering ‘jumma namaz” on grounds of security.
Petitioner Syed Ibrahim Hussain Zaidi, president of Taj Mahal Masjid Management Committee, Agra, told the bench that several tourists visit Agra throughout the year and the order of the ADM (City), Agra, restraining them from offering their prayers at the mosque inside the Taj Mahal was illegal and arbitrary.
Zaidi’s lawyer argued that the ADM’s order discriminated between residents of Agra and non-residents and “is not based on intelligible and rational principles and being wholly unrelated to the objects sought to be achieved.”
He contended before the court that as Agra residents are permitted to enter the mosque after going through the security check, the non-residents can also be allowed access in the same manner.
A separate bench of the top court is hearing a public interest litigation petition related to the preservation of the 17th century white marble monument of love.