Gyanvapi ASI Survey Stay | "Matter Of National Importance": Allahabad High Court Seeks ASI DG's Personal Affidavit By Oct 18

Update: 2022-09-28 14:44 GMT

In the ongoing hearing before the Allahabad High Court in connection with the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque dispute, the High Court today asked the Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi to file a personal affidavit by October 18 on the issue regarding the ASI survey ordered by the Varanasi Court (the order has been stayed by the HC).  "Since...

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In the ongoing hearing before the Allahabad High Court in connection with the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque dispute, the High Court today asked the Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi to file a personal affidavit by October 18 on the issue regarding the ASI survey ordered by the Varanasi Court (the order has been stayed by the HC). 

"Since the matter is of national importance and fact that the suit is pending before the trial Court since 1991, this Court hopes and trusts that the respondent No.7/the Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi will comply with the order dated 12.09.2022 in its letter and spirit on or before the next date fixed in the matter, i.e., 18.10.2022" : the bench of Justice Prakash Padia ordered.

Earlier, the High Court had asked the DG to file her reply by September 28, however, the Court was informed today that the director has been advised to take bed rest in view of major surgical intervention as she was suffering from gynecological health issues and therefore, on this ground, some more time to file the affidavit was sought. 

Accepting the request, the Court has now asked the DG ASI to file her reply on or before October 18. Here it may be noted that the Court has not put any specific query to the DG, ASI.

Our readers may not that the High Court had sought affidavits had been sought from the central government and the state government last year as it stayed proceedings in the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir-Gyanvapi Masjid effectively suspending a controversial order of the Varanasi Court that had ordered an archaeological survey of the premises to determine whether a Hindu temple was partially razed to build the Gyanvapi mosque in the 17th century.

The Uttar Pradesh Government has already filed its affidavit stating that it has no significant role if the ASI survey is conducted as has to only deal with the law and order situation in this case.

The background of the case

Essentially, the Anjuman Intazamia Masazid, Varanasi has challenged (before the HC) the suit filed before the Varanasi Court by the Ancient Idol Of Swayambhu Lord Vishweshwar And 5 Others in the year 1991 claiming the restoration of the land on which the Gyanvapi Mosque stands to Hindus.

The Anjuman Intezamiya Masajid Varanasi has also challenged the proceeding before the Varanasi court in which an ASI survey had been ordered last year, the High Court stayed that very order last year in September.

Earlier, the contesting respondents argued before the Court that the petitioner [Anjuman Intazamia Masazid, Varanasi] had initially filed an application under Order VII Rule 11(d) CPC for rejecting the plaint (of the Ancient Idol Of Swayambhu Lord Vishweshwar) however, they did not press the same for a considerable time and instead of pressing the aforesaid application, they chose to file written statement in the plaint.

It was further argued by the counsel for the respondent that on the basis of pleadings in the suit, the issues were framed by the Varanasi Court. The Counsel also submitted that the property in question, i.e. the temple of Lord Visheshwar has been in existence from ancient times, i.e., Satyug up till now.

It was his further submission that the Swayambhu Lord Visheshwar is situated in the disputed structure, and therefore, the land in dispute is itself an integral part of Lord Visheshwar.

On the argument put forth by the Majid committee that since the plaint was barred by the provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, the same should be rejected, the respondents have argued that the religious character of the place of worship remained the same as on the day of August 15, 1947, therefore, the provisions of Place of Worship Act, 1991 cannot be applied.

In related news, the Varanasi Court earlier this month dismissed the Anjuman Islamia Masjid committee's plea (filed under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC) challenging the maintainability of the suit filed by five Hindu women (plaintiffs) seeking worshipping rights in the Gyanvapi Mosque compound.

District Judge Ajay Krishna Vishwesha observed that the suit of the plaintiffs is not barred by the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, The Waqf Act 1995 , and the U.P. Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1983 as was being claimed by the Anjuman Masjid Committee (which manages Gyanvapi Masjid).

Read more about the issue here: Plaint Avers Hindu Deities Were Worshipped Inside Gyanvapi Mosque Complex Even After Aug 15, 1947; Places Of Worship Act No Bar To Suit: Varanasi Court

Appearances

Counsel for Petitioner :- A. P. Sahai, A.K. Rai, D. K. Singh, G. K. Singh, M. A. Qadeer,S.I.Siddiqui,Syed Ahmed Faizan,Tahira Kazmi,V.K. Singh,Vishnu Kumar Singh

Counsel for Respondent :- C.S.C.,A.P.Srivastava,Ajay Kumar Singh,Ashish Kr.Singh,Bakhteyar Yusuf,Hare Ram,Prabhash Pandey,R.S.Maurya,Rakesh Kumar Singh,V.K.S.Chaudhary,Vineet Pandey,Vineet Sankalp

Case title - Anjuman Intazamia Masazid Varanasi Vs. Ist A.D.J. Varanasi And Others [MATTERS UNDER ARTICLE 227 No. - 3341 of 2017]

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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