Bengaluru: In a late-night hearing on Tuesday, the Karnataka High Court upheld an order of the Dharwad municipal commissioner allowing the Ganesh Chaturthi festival to be held at the Hubballi Idgah maidan.
Justice Ashok S Kinagi held that the property belonged to the Dharwad municipality and Anjuman-e-Islam was only a lease holder for a period of 999 years at a fee of Re 1 per year.
The court had heard the issue earlier in the day. The municipal commissioner’s order was challenged in the court by Anjuman-e-Islam. The court had allowed the commissioner’s order but at the same time, the Supreme Court was hearing the issue of the festival being allowed at the Chamrajpet Idgah maidan in Bengaluru.
Anjuman-e-Islam had claimed that the property in question was protected under the Places of Worship Act, 1991, which says no religious place of worship can be converted. The high court said in the case of the property in question, it was not a religious place of worship and was allowed for prayers only during Bakrid and Ramzan. During other times, it was used for purposes like a marketplace and a parking lot.
The Supreme Court order of status quo in the Bengaluru Chamrajpet ground was also not applicable to this case, the high court said.
The Chamrajpet issue involves a dispute about the ownership of the property, whereas the Hubballi ground belongs to the municipality, which Anjuman-e-Islam has also acknowledged, the court pointed out.
It had said if there was a Supreme Court order on the Benglauru Idgah issue, the same could be mentioned before it.
The apex court ordered for status quo in the Bengaluru issue and the Ganesh Chaturthi festival set to be celebrated by the state government had to be withheld.
The matter was mentioned in the Hubballi case. Justice Kinagi heard the matter at his official chamber at 10 pm. After hearing the parties, including the state government advocate, he dictated the orders at 11.15 pm.