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Supreme Court transfers Gyanvapi Mosque case from civil judge to district judge

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Supreme Court transfers Gyanvapi Mosque case from civil judge to district judge

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The Supreme Court transferred the Gyanvapi Mosque case from civil judge to district judge in Varanasi on Friday. The court also extended an interim order it issued on May 17.

Supreme Court transfers Gyanvapi Mosque case from civil judge to district judge
The Supreme Court transferred the Gyanvapi Mosque case from a civil judge to the district judge in Varanasi on Friday, and said the latter should decide the maintainability of the lawsuit. The court also extended its May 17 interim order and said the district magistrate must facilitate wuzu and namaz.
"Our interim order dated May 17 shall continue to remain till Order 7 Rule 11 Application is decided and thereafter for 8 weeks so that parties aggrieved by district judge order can challenge the same," Bar and Bench reported, citing the apex court order.
In its May 17 order, the top court had asked the Varanasi district magistrate to ensure the protection of the area where the 'Shivling' was claimed to be found in the in the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex.
The Supreme Court's verdict came a day after it stayed the hearing of the case at a civil court in Varanasi. The Varanasi court has now posted the matter to May 23, PTI reported.
The Allahabad High Court also adjourned the hearing in the matter till July 6.
What is Gyanvapi Mosque case?
The Gyanvapi mosque is adjacent to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi.
The court is hearing a plea 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.
However, 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. However, the mosque management committee had opposed filming inside the masjid.
Some parts of the complex were surveyed on May 6 and 7 by a team led by advocate Ajay Mishra.
The mosque committee had then accused the court-appointed commissioner of partiality. Amid the opposition, the survey was stalled for a while.
Meanwhile, on May 17, the Varanasi civil court removed Ajay Mishra as the advocate commissioner for displaying "irresponsible behaviour towards the discharge of his duties". It further asked the commission to file the survey report.
Mishra had later filed a report on the survey he conducted in the court of the District Civil Judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar late on Wednesday evening.
After removing Mishra, the court had appointed Vishal Singh as the special advocate commissioner and Ajay Pratap Singh as the assistant advocate commissioner.
The reconstituted commission then carried out the survey of the complex on May 14, 15 and 16. Without giving details of the report, Vishal Singh said he submitted documents and sealed boxes containing chips of videos and photos.
"From my side, this is the final report. If the court feels it is sufficient then fine, otherwise we will go by the directions of the court," he was quoted by PTI as saying.
'Shivling' found in the complex?
One of the parties in the Gyanvapi mosque complex case claimed a 'Shivling' was found on its premises during the court-mandated videography survey. Following this, a local court ordered the sealing of a pond in the masjid complex.
Meanwhile, a mosque committee member raised questions over the classification of the object in the 'wazookhana' pond as Shivling.
"All mosques built during the Mughal era had fountains at the 'wazookhana'. Like other mosques, a green stone was also fixed at the fountain of the Gyanvapi mosque, which is being termed a Shivling," he said.
Later, on May 17, the Supreme Court directed the district magistrate of Varanasi to ensure the protection of the area where 'Shivling' was said to be found in the survey. However, the bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and PS Narasimha ordered that Muslims can continue offering 'namaz' there without any impediment.
"We need to balance the rights of contesting parties," the bench said in its order.
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