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Legal Court Rejects Hindus Claim On Temple


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Bureau Report

PESHAWAR, Dec 8: A civil court has rejected the local Hindu community`s claim of exclusive ownership of a temple, notwithstanding the Sikh community`s counter claim.

In its detailed judgment released on Wednesday Civil Judge Raja Shoaib, observed that the plaintiff, Jawed and six others, could not prove their claim.

The dispute over the temple had been lingering on since early 1990`s. The suit was filed in year 2000 against decision of the Evacuee Trust Department to partition the disputed property among the Hindu and Sikh communities. The defendants in the case were Nano Ram and some other members of Sikh community.

According to facts of the case, the dispute was regarding a property situated in R.A. Bazaar, which according to the suit filed by the plaintiffs (Hindus) was there as Hindu temple for the last 1800 years, where members of the community used to perform their religious rites.

The plaintiff claimed that the members of Sikh community later on tried to possess the building and use it as gurdwara. It was also contended that the defendants were previously Hindus and later on converted to Sikh religion and had never performed any religious activity in the building as Sikhs.

It was alleged that because of the attempts of Sikhs to take over the property the then cantonment executive magistrate ordered to seal the temple under section 145 CrPC for prevention of breach of peace. The suit was filed against the proceedings of the executive magistrate and Evacuee Trust Department.

Barrister Adnan Saboor Rohaila, appearing for the defendants, contended that the stance of the plaintiffs that a Hindu temple existed there for 1800 years could not be substantiated with any evidence.

He argued that the disputed building was built on three different survey numbers having separate lease deeds executed in 1944 in favour of Hindu community, management of Gurdwara Committee and for dharamsala (rest house for pilgrim), which was in favour of the Hindu and Sikh communities jointly.

He contended that according to the official record the property had separate entity as gurdwara and they had the right to use the property as their worship place.

Barrister Rohaila contended that the suit had been filed by some Hindu individuals against Sikh individuals and it lacked representative characteristic and thus it was incompetent, as the properties did not belong to any individual.

It was argued that the document of title, which was a lease in perpetuity, was executed in favour of Gurdwara Management Committee and had not been challenged and existed as a separate entity since 1944. It was contended that after conversion of defendants (Sikhs), they started offering prayers in the suit building as Sikhs and no objection was raised at that time.



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