Karnataka Waqf Board moves Supreme Court against Idgah maidan use for Ganesha festival

A single bench of Karnataka High Court on 25 August passed an interim order maintaining status quo on the Idagh Maidan.

BySaurav Kumar

Published Aug 29, 2022 | 2:22 PM Updated Aug 29, 2022 | 6:16 PM

Chamarajpet Idgah Maidan.

The Karnataka State Waqf Board on Monday, 29 August, moved the Supreme Court against the order of the Karnataka High Court that granted permission to the state government to consider applications to hold Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at Idgah Maidan in Bengaluru’s Chamarajpet.

The Waqf board, represented by Kapil Sibal, presented the matter before the bench headed by Chief Justice UU Lalit and sought an urgent hearing. The bench agreed to hear the matter on Tuesday.

On 26 August, a division bench of the High Court of Karnataka permitted the state government to consider and pass appropriate orders on the applications that sought permission to use the Idgah maidan for holding religious and cultural activities for a limited period of time from 31 August.

The high court order said, “Indian society comprises religious, linguistic, regional or sectional diversities. The Constitution itself fosters brotherhood amongst various sections of society. The principle of religious toleration is a characteristic of Indian civilization. We therefore, at this stage, on the peculiar facts of the case, modify the interim order and permit the state government to consider and pass appropriate orders on applications seeking use of the land in question for holding religious and cultural activities for a limited period from 31 August onwards.”

The bench on 25 August also passed an interim order maintaining the status quo on the Idagh Maidan.

Recent legal tussle

The legal contention between the Waqf board and the state’s Revenue Department on the Idgah maidan resurfaced in the first week of August.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on 6 August declared the Revenue Department as the owner of the Idgah maidan.

This decision was legally contested by the Waqf board in the Karnataka High Court, which resulted in an interim order on 25 August that was welcomed by the Waqf board.

The interim order said that Idgah maidan shall be utilised only for the purpose of a playground and that the Muslim community was permitted to use it for prayers on Ramzan and Bakrid and not for offering prayers on any other day.

Claims of Ganesha festival on Idgah maidan

In the midst of legal proceedings on the Idgah maidan, various Hindutva outfits have been demanding permission to celebrate the Ganesha festival on the controversial land.

After the first time celebration of Independence Day on the site, Hindutva outfits threatened to demolish the Idgah tower.

After the Karnataka High Court’s decision, the state government may soon take a decision on permitting the Ganesha festival at the Idgan maidan.

On 26 August, state Revenue Minister R Ashok held a meeting with officials to review the applications submitted seeking permission for holding the festival.