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[GYANVAPI] "Can The Age Of 'Shiva Linga' Be Ascertained Without Damaging The Structure?": Allahabad High Court Asks ASI

Sparsh Upadhyay
5 Nov 2022 11:04 AM GMT
[GYANVAPI] Can The Age Of Shiva Linga Be Ascertained Without Damaging The Structure?: Allahabad High Court Asks ASI

The Allahabad High Court on Friday admitted a plea moved before it challenging the Varanasi Court's October 14 order wherein it had rejected Hindu worshippers' plea for conducting a scientific probe of the 'Shiva Linga', reportedly found inside Gyanvapi Mosque premises (on May 16).

It may be noted that the Anjuman Masjid committee (which manages the Gyanvapi Mosque) has been calling the structure found inside the mosque premises in question as a 'Fauwara/Fountain'.

While issuing a notice to the Archaeological Survey Of India (ASI), the Court has also sought an opinion of the Director General of the ASI as to whether a safe evaluation of the age of the 'Shiva Linga', purportedly found inside the Gyanvapi Mosque complex, can be done.

The Court has essentially asked the DG, ASI to give her opinion on the following issues by November 21, 2022:

"...whether investigation of the structure found at site, subject matter of Original Suit No.18 of 2022 if examined through the methods of Carbon Dating, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), Excavation and other methods adopted to determine its age, nature and other relevant information is likely to damage it or a safe evaluation about its age can be done."

Essentially, this issue came for the Court's consideration as the Revisionists (Laxmi Devi And 3 Others), while challenging the Varanasi Court's October 14 Order, have also sought HC's direction to the ASI to conduct a scientific probe of the 'Shiva Linga' through the methods of Carbon Dating, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), and Excavation.

The Revisionists further seek a direction to the ASI to give its opinion through the issue of a Commission for scientific investigation to determine the age, nature, and other constituents of the Shivlingam, employing the abovementioned methods.

For the uninitiated, a prayer (scientific probe of the 'Shiva Linga') to this effect was earlier made before the Varanasi Court in September 2022, however, the same was rejected taking into account the Supreme Court's May 17 order to protect the spot where the "Shiva Linga" was claimed to have been found during the survey of the Gyanvapi mosque.

"If Carbon Dating or Ground Penetrating Radar is permitted and if any damage is caused to the 'Shiva Linga' then it would be a violation of the Supreme Court order to protect it and it might also hurt the religious sentiments of the general public," remarked the Varanasi Court while dismissing HIndu worshippers' plea.

Challenging that order, the instant revision plea was moved before the High Court recently.

Now, yesterday, when the matter came up for the High Court's hearing, Mr. Hari Shankar Jain along with Mr. Vishnu Shankar Jain, the Counsels appearing for the Revisionists submitted before the HC that the order impugned is bad in law because it is based on a priori reasoning that a scientific investigation of the Shivlingam, claimed by the plaintiffs would lead to its damage and that would violate the Supreme Court's order.

Further, they argued that there is no basis for this apprehension expressed by the Varanasi Court that the 'Shiva Linga' would be damaged as whether the Carbon Dating, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), and Excavation would indeed damage it, can only be judged by the Archaeological Survey of India and not by assumption or conjecture.

In view of this, admitting the plea, the Court also directed the Varanasi Court to fix a date in the main suit in the matter [where five Hindu women (plaintiffs) have sought all year-round worshipping rights of Shringar Guar inside the Gyanvapi Mosque compound] in the first week of December 2022.

This direction was issued by the High Court after Counsel Hari Shankar Jain argued before it that if the Varanasi Court would proceed with the suit, it may affect adversely the outcome of any possible scientific investigation by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Case title - Smt. Laxmi Devi And 3 Others. v. State Of U.P Thru Principal Sec.(Civil Sec.) Lko. Nd 5 Otrs

Click here To Read/Download Order

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