‘Will list it’, SC on plea against Gyanvapi mosque survey

A petition challenging a Varanasi court's order to appoint an advocate as a court commissioner to inspect the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir-Gyanvapi Masjid complex.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday declined to immediately stop the survey of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi and agreed to list a plea against the Allahabad High Court order.

The Allahabad High Court in its judgement in April had dismissed a petition challenging a Varanasi court’s order to appoint an advocate as a Court Commissioner to inspect the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque complex.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi listed a plea before the apex court filed by the commitee of the management of Anjumane-e-Intezamia Masjid seeking a stay on survey of the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi masjid complex.

The plea challenged the validity of Allahabad HC’s order on April 21, which dismissed the plea against the civil court’s order for the survey.

Ahmadi mentioned the plea before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana.

The bench said: “We don’t know anything about the matter… We have no details. How can we pass the order…”

The lawyer representing Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, said, “please grant status quo…”, and added that the mosque has been covered under the Places of Worship Act.

The bench replied saying: “Let me look at the papers, let me see…”

A Varanasi court on a suit filed jointly by five Hindu women in April had ordered an inspection of the Gyanvapi mosque premises by Advocate Commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra.

The Allahabad High Court affirmed the civil court order.

The petitioners urged the court for year-long access to pray at a shrine behind the western wall of the mosque complex.

The women also want permission to pray to other “visible and invisible deities within the old temple complex”.

On Thursday, a Varanasi court ordered resumption of the video survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex, including the basement and closed rooms.

However, the Muslim parties had objected to the survey.

The court said the survey report must be submitted on May 17.

The Varanasi court also declined to entertain the demand of Muslim parties to remove the Advocate Commissioner and instead appointed two Additional Commissioners, lawyers Vishal Singh and Ajay Pratap Singh, to assist him.

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