North India

Gyanvapi mosque case: SC to await Varanasi court decision on maintainability of suit

A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justices Surya Kant and P.S. Narasimha deferred hearing on a plea by the Committee of Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Varanasi to October.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said it will wait for the district court’s decision on the maintainability of a suit in connection with the Gyanvapi mosque at Varanasi.

A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justices Surya Kant and P.S. Narasimha deferred hearing on a plea by the Committee of Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Varanasi to October. The bench noted that Muslim side’s objections on the appointment of court commissioner to survey the premises would be left open.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing the mosque committee, contended that the order for commission survey is ex-facie without jurisdiction. “If I can make out a case that the order appointing commission is illegal, then the report has to be struck off… Now the entire area has been sealed. A status quo existing for several 100 years has been altered,” said Ahmadi. The mosque committee challenged the Allahabad High Court’s order upholding the decision to appoint the court commissioner.

The top court also declined to entertain a separate plea seeking ‘puja’, ‘darshan’, ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey and carbon dating by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) of the Shivling purportedly discovered in the Gyanvapi mosque’s ablution area during a court-ordered survey.

The plea filed by seven Hindu women requested the top court to direct the Central government to install live video streaming equipment to stream on the website of Shri Kashi Vishwanath Trust at Shivalingam existing within the old temple complex discovered in the advocate commissioner’s survey on May 16. The plea also sought a direction for the devotees to have virtual darshan and perform symbolic puja.

The Court also refused to entertain another writ petition seeking right to worship the “Shivling” stated to be found in the mosque during the survey. The petitions were withdrawn with liberty to pursue other remedies available under law.

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