The Allahabad high court has ordered the Chhata tehsildar of Mathura district in Uttar Pradesh to provide an explanation on how the ownership of the Banke Bihari Ji Maharaj temple land was altered in revenue records in 2004 in the name of a Qabristan, or Muslim graveyard.
The order was issued by Justice Saurabh Srivastava in response to a petition submitted by the Shri Bihari ji Sewa Trust in Mathura. The court set August 17 as the next hearing date in the case.
Notably, the writ petition was filed in order to direct revenue authorities in Chhata, Mathura, to rectify the revenue entry that had been made ‘illegally’ against the Qabristan instead of the Banke Bihari Ji Maharaj Temple.
The counsel for the state government drew the attention of the court that one application is also pending since the entries in the revenue records have now been altered from graveyard to ‘purani abadi’.
Shri Bihar Ji Seva Trust was represented by Advocate Raghavendra Prasad Mishra. According to the trust, Plot number 1081 has been recorded in the name of Banke Bihari Maharaj from ancient times. Bhola Khan Pathan, in collusion with revenue officials, had the said site registered as a graveyard in 2004.
The temple trust filed an objection after receiving the information. The matter was escalated to the Waqf Board, and a seven-member committee investigated and discovered that the graveyard was incorrectly registered. Despite this, Bihari ji’s name was not recorded on the land. Subsequently, a petition has been filed.
In its order issued last Thursday, the court said, “In light of the foregoing facts and circumstances, Tehsildar is hereby directed to appear in person for explaining the proceedings whatsoever carried out by the revenue authorities from time to time for changing the entries available over plot no. 1081 situated at Village Shahpur, Tehsil Chhata of Mathura district.”
According to the petitioner, the plot no. 1081 in village Shahpur was originally in the name of Banke Bihari Ji Maharaj temple, as evidenced by the record of rights of 1375-1377F.
It is said that the Banke Bihari Ji Maharaj temple was constructed around 1860 and is a classic instance of Rajasthani architecture.