In a revision plea challenging Varanasi Court's September 12 order in the ongoing Gyanvapi dispute, the Allahabad High Court has directed the District Judge, Varanasi to ensure that the entire records of the Hindu worshippers' suit are sent to the HC by the day after tomorrow (October 21).
It may be noted that the instant revision plea has been moved by the Gyanvapi Masjid Committee challenging a Varanasi Court order (of September 12, 2022) dismissing its Order 7 Rule 11 CPC plea that was filed against the maintainability of Hindu Worshippers' suit.
Pursuant to the High Court's October 17 order, the Lower Court Records relating to the order of the District Judge, Varanasi was available before the Court today, however, the Masjid committee argued before the bench of Justice J. J. Munir that the entire records of the suit are necessary for the proper adjudication of the issues involved in this revision.
Consequently, the District Judge, Varanasi was directed to ensure that the entire records of the suit (except photostat copies which have already been sent) are sent to the High Court by the day after tomorrow.
"Needless to mention that the records sent shall be photostat copies of the original records, duly verified by the learned District Judge, and not the original records," the Court added as it posted the matter for the day after tomorrow i.e. 21.10.2022.
It may be noted that the Varanasi Court last month dismissed the Anjuman committee's plea (filed under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC) challenging the maintainability of a suit filed by five Hindu women (plaintiffs) seeking worshipping rights in the Gyanvapi Mosque compound.
Thereafter, the Masjid committee moved the instant revision plea challenging that very order before the Allahabad High Court.
In its order, the Varanasi District Judge Ajay Krishna Vishwesha last month 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).
The plaintiffs (Hindu women worshippers) have essentially sought a right to worship Maa Shringar Gauri on the outer wall of the mosque complex located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple. The maintainability of that very suit had been challenged by the Anjuman Committee (which manages Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi) arguing that Hindu Worshippers' suit is barred by Law (Places of Worship Act, 1991).
The plaintiffs have claimed that the present Mosque premises was once a Hindu temple and it was demolished by Mughal Ruler Aurangzeb and thereafter, the present mosque structure was built there.
Challenging their suit, the Anjuman Masjid committee had argued in its objection and order 7 rule 11 CPC application that the suit is specifically barred by the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.
Regarding the applicability of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 as a bar to the suit filed by the Hindu women worshippers, the Court specifically held that since the Hindu Worshippers claim that the Hindu deities were being worshipped by them inside the masjid complex even after August 15, 1947 (which is the cut off date provided under the Places of Worship Act), therefore, this act will have no applicability here in this case.
"In the present case, the plaintiffs are demanding right to worship Maa Sringar Gauri, Lord Ganesh, and Lord Hanuman at the disputed property, therefore, Civil Court has jurisdiction to decide this case. Further, according to the pleadings of the plaintiffs, they were worshipping Maa Sringar Gauri, Lord Hanuman, Lord Ganesh at the disputed place incessantly since a long time till 1993. After 1993, they were allowed to worship the above mentioned Gods only once in a year under the regulatory of State of Uttar Pradesh. Thus, according to plaintiffs, they worshipped Maa Sringar Gauri, Lord Hanuman at the disputed place regularly even after 15th August, 1947. Therefore, The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 does not operate as bar on the suit of the plaintiffs and the suit of plaintiffs is not barred by Section 9 of the Act," the Court remarked.
S.F.A. Naqvi, Senior Advocate assisted by Zaheer Asghar appeared on behalf of the revisionist. Advocate Vineet Sankalp for respondent no. 9. M.C. Chaturvedi, Additional Advocate General assisted by Vipin Bihari Pandey, Chief Standing Counsel-V appeared on behalf of respondents nos. 6, 7 and 8. Vishnu Shankar Jain, Advocate appeared on behalf of respondents no. 2 to 5 and Advocates Saurabh Tiwari and Arya Suman Pandey were present on behalf of respondent no. 1.
Case title - Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Varanasi