Places Of Worship Act Not Applicable To Gyanvapi Mosque : Hindu Sena President Approaches Supreme Court Against Masjid Committee's Plea
The President of the Hindu Sena, Vishnu Gupta, has moved the Supreme Court seeking directions for dismissal of the petition filed by Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Management Committee challenging the survey ordered by a Varanasi court in the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashivishvanath temple premises.
An intervention application has been filed in a special leave petition filed by the Masjid Committee challenging the recent order of the Allahabad High Court refusing to interfere in Varanasi Court's order directing the survey work to continue
The present applicant has argued that the Gyanvapi Mosque Complex is exempted from the Places of Worship Act, 1991.
It has been submitted that the erstwhile Kashi Vishvnath Temple and Shringar Gauri Temple within the Gyanvapi Mosque Complex fall under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, and therefore, are exempted from the Places of Worship Act, 1991, as per Section 4(3)(1).
While submitting that Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the Vishwanath temple at the disputed site and built the Gyanvapi Mosque its place, the applicant has argued that the remains of the erstwhile temple can be seen in the foundation, the columns and at the rear part of the mosque.
In a significant development, a Varanasi Court today directed sealing of a spot in the complex after being told that a Shiva Linga was found inside the Gyanvapi Mosque premises by the court-appointed Advocate Commissioner during the survey.
It may be noted that a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud is scheduled to hear the petition tomorrow.
The Masjid Committee's lawyer, Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, had mentioned the petition before the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Friday (May 13) for urgent listing. When the senior counsel made an oral request for a status quo order against the survey, the CJI said that he was yet to see the files. On Friday evening, an order was passed in the case to list it before the bench of Justice Chandrachud.
The Varanasi Court had ordered an inspection of the premises on petitions moved by five Hindu women asking for year-long access to pray at a Hindu shrine behind the western wall of the Gyanvapi Mosque complex in Varanasi. The site is currently opened for prayers once a year.
The local court had earlier directed the authorities to submit a report by May 10, however, the survey could not take place as the mosque committee had opposed the videography inside the mosque.
Thereafter, a petition was filed on behalf of the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee demanding the removal of Advocate Commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra. After 3 days of arguments, the Court ordered that the survey of the premises shall continue.
The Court has appointed 2 more lawyers as commissioners to accompany Court commissioner Ajay Mishra for the survey and further, it has been ordered the Commission to submit a report by May 17before the court.
The court has also ordered that the entire mosque complex be surveyed and further directed that till the survey is not completed, it shall continue.
To read about the grounds of challenge in the appeal filed by the Masjid Committee, read this report.
Case Title: COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT ANJUMAN INTEZAMIA MASAJID VARANASI vs RAKHI SINGH & Others