North India

Varanasi court bans media coverage of ASI survey of Gyanvapi mosque

The court also ordered ASI officials involved in the survey, besides the plaintiffs, defendants, and their advocates, district government counsel (civil) and other officials on Thursday not to share any information about the survey with the print, electronic and social media.

Varanasi: The court of Varanasi district judge has ordered that if the print media, social media or electronic media wrongly publishes any news regarding the ongoing ASI survey in the Gyanvapi mosque complex without formal information and despite no information being given by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the plaintiff and the defendant, then action may be taken against them as per the law.

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The court also ordered ASI officials involved in the survey, besides the plaintiffs, defendants, and their advocates, district government counsel (civil) and other officials on Thursday not to share any information about the survey with the print, electronic and social media.

The court passed the order on an application filed by Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee (AIMC) on August 8 seeking an order to stop the media from “publishing, disseminating false and wrong news about the survey” being conducted by the ASI in Gyanvapi mosque premises on court directives.

The court ordered, “If the print media, social media or electronic media wrongly publishes any news regarding the survey without formal information, despite no information being provided by the ASI, plaintiffs and the defendant’s side, then necessary action may be taken against them as per the law.”

“It is ordered to all the ASI officials, who are involved in the survey, that they will neither give any information regarding the survey to print, electronic, and social media, nor will they share the information regarding the survey with anyone else, and they will submit the report before the court,” the court said.

The court also added that any information about the survey should not be publicised in order that the report be presented before the court only.

AIMC Joint Secretary S.M. Yasin welcomed the order.

“We welcome the order passed by the honourable district judge after hearing our application,” Yasin said in a statement.

The AIMC filed the application on Tuesday (August 8) through its counsel Mumtaz Ahmad, Akhlaque Ahmad and Rais Ansari.

Mumtaz Ahmad said the ASI survey was being done on court orders and no ASI official had given any statement regarding the survey proceedings. 

But social, print and electronic media were publishing and disseminating false and wrong news in an arbitrary manner about portions (of the Gyanvapi mosque) where the survey had not been conducted yet, he added.

It was necessary to stop social, print and electronic media from publishing and disseminating wrong/false news about the survey for maintaining peace and avoiding ill-effects on the mind of public, he said.

Maan Bahadur Singh, counsel for Shringar Gauri-Gyanvapi case plaintiff number 1 Rakhi Singh, said, “People want to know about this matter. Therefore, media should not be stopped from coverage.”

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