The Varanasi district court on Tuesday decided to hear the Gyanvapi mosque case on Thursday, May 26. The court said it will first hear the plea filed by the Muslim party challenging the maintainability of the suit filed by Hindu parties. The court also gave parties seven days' time to submit objections to the survey report.
The order comes a day after the Hindu parties argued that the objections to the advocate commissioner's report on the survey of the Gyanvapi mosque should be taken into account before deciding the maintainability plea.
"The former presiding officer, Civil Judge, CD, Varanasi, while passing the order dated May 19, 2022, had invited objections from the parties on the commissioner's report. The said order is currently in effect. Therefore, the parties can submit objections to the commission report within seven days," Bar and Bench quoted from the court order.
The district judge was hearing the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex case on the Supreme Court's order. Last week, the top court transferred the Gyanvapi Mosque case from a civil judge to the district judge in Varanasi. It had also asked the district judge to decide the maintainability of the lawsuit.
The court of District Judge AK Vishevesh had then heard the pleas of both sides on Monday. A fresh plea seeking permission to worship the "Shivling" claimed to have been found on the Gyanvapi mosque premises during a videography survey was also filed.
The district court had reserved its order for Tuesday on whether to hear first the Hindu petitioners' plea to invite objections to the Gyanvapi mosque survey report or the Muslim side's case that the writ is not maintainable.
The Gyanvapi case
The case pertains to a plea filed by a group of women who had sought permission for daily worship of Hindu deities whose idols are installed on an outer wall of the mosque.
The original suit was filed in 1991 in the Varanasi district court seeking the restoration of the ancient temple at the site where the Gyanvapi mosque is currently located.
On April 18, 2021, the Varanasi court ordered a videographic survey of the temple-masjid complex. Some parts of the complex were then surveyed on May 6 and 7 by a team led by advocate Ajay Mishra.
Ajay Mishra was later removed as the advocate commissioner for displaying "irresponsible behaviour towards the discharge of his duties".
The reconstituted commission then carried out the survey of the complex on May 14, 15 and 16.
One of the parties in the Gyanvapi mosque complex case claimed a 'Shivling' was found on its premises during the court-mandated videography survey.
The Hindu side claimed that the Shivling was found close to the "wazu khana"--a small reservoir used by Muslim devotees to perform ritual ablutions before offering the namaz.
Meanwhile, a mosque management committee spokesperson disputed the claim, telling a television channel that the object was part of a "fountain". According to PTI, he said lawyers representing the mosque committee were not fully heard before the sealing order was announced.
On May 16, the lower court had directed the district administration to seal a spot in the Gyanvapi Masjid complex a Shivling was claimed to be found during a court-mandated videography survey.
What the two parties say
The Hindu side argued that since a court-appointed commission has completed its survey work, the opponents should present their objections to it. Madan Mohan Yadav, a lawyer for the Hindu side, said they pleaded to make available the commission's report and videography is done by it to present its side on it.
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Meanwhile, Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee's lawyer Mohammad Tauhid Khan said the writ is not maintainable under order 7 and Rule 11 of the CPC (Civil Procedure Code), hence, it should be dismissed.
(Edited by : Akriti Anand)