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[Gyanvapi] Masjid Committee's Challenge To Varanasi Court's O7 R11 CPC Order: Allahabad High Court Adjourns Hearing To Oct 19

Sparsh Upadhyay
17 Oct 2022 9:53 AM 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 Allahabad High Court today adjourned hearing in the revision plea 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.

Significantly, the Bench of Justice J. J. Munir orally remarked that the scope of a revision plea moved challenging an order under Order 7 Rule 11 is limited. However, he went ahead to adjourn the case to October 19 after both parties agreed fir it.

During the course of the hearing, Justice Munir also asked the Senior Counsel appearing for the Anjuman Islamia Masjid Committee (which manages the Gyanvapi mosque) to file relevant documents (photostat copies) of the record filed before the Varanasi Court and make submissions on October 19. Advocates Saurabh Tiwari and Arya Suman Pandey appeared for Rakhi Singh (respondent no. 1).

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 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 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.

Case title - Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Varanasi

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