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Gyanvapi | Challenge To Maintainability Of Hindu Worhsippers' Suit: Mosque Committee Concludes Argument In Allahabad HC

Sparsh Upadhyay
30 Nov 2022 1:44 PM GMT
Allahabad High Court, Gyanvapi, order 7 rule 11 plea of Masjid Committee, revision plea, Challenge, Maintainability, Hindu Worhsippers Suit, Mosque Committee, Concludes Argument, Gyanvapi-Kashi Vishwanath temple dispute, Justice J. J. Munir, December 5,
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The Anjuman Intazamia Mosque Committee (which manages the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi) today concluded its argument in its revision plea moved before Allahabad High Court 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.

Before the matter was adjourned for further hearing to December 5, 2022, by the Bench of Justice J. J. Munir, the counsel for the Hindu worshippers started his argument and he will continue to make his submissions on the next day of the hearing.

During the course of the hearing, Justice Munir also directed the District Judge, Varanasi to ensure that within three days next, xerox copies of missing documents of the Lower Court Records, duly authenticated, be sent to the Court.

This direction was given after the Counsel for the respondents/Hindu worshippers pointed out to the High Court that the xerox copies of the Lower Court Records sent to the HC did not carry all the documents.

Background of the case

It may be noted that the Varanasi Court, in September this year, 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 had 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 Background of the case

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 Varanasi Court, in its September 12 order, 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.

Appearances:

Senior Advocate S.F.A. Naqvi assisted by Advocates Zaheer Asghar and Syed Ahmed Faizan appeared for the revisionist (Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masajid, Varanasi)

Counsels Saurabh Tiwari and Arya Suman Pandey appeared on behalf of respondent no. 1. Advocates Hari Shanker Jain and Parth Yadav (via video conferencing) along with Advocates Prabhash Pandey, Vishnu Shankar Jain, and Pradeep Sharm appeared on behalf of respondents nos. 2 to 5.

Additional Advocate General M.C. Chaturvedi assisted by Chief Standing Counsel-V Bipin Bihari Pandey, along with Additional Chief Standing Counsel Rananjay Singh, Standing Counsels G.K. Tripathi & Shrawan Kumar Dubey, and State Law Officer Hare Ram, appeared on behalf of respondents nos. 6, 7 and 8.

Counsel Vineet Sankalp appeared on behalf of respondent no. 9, the Board of Trustees.

Case title - Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Varanasi v. Smt. Rakhi Singh and others [CIVIL REVISION No. - 101 of 2022]

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