21 July 2023 1:57 PM GMT
The Varanasi District Court today directed the Director of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a “scientific survey” of the Gyanvapi mosque premises except for the area that was sealed earlier (wuzukhana) to find out if the same has been built over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple. The court of District Judge AK Vishwesha passed this order in an application moved...
The Varanasi District Court today directed the Director of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a “scientific survey” of the Gyanvapi mosque premises except for the area that was sealed earlier (wuzukhana) to find out if the same has been built over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple.
The court of District Judge AK Vishwesha passed this order in an application moved in May this year [under Section 75(e) and Order 26 Rule 10A of CPC] by the 4 Hindu Women Worshippers in a suit pending before the Court (Rakhi Singh and others vs State of UP and others) seeking all year-round worshipping rights in the Gyanvapi Mosque compound.
In the application, it was contended by the 4 women worshippers that a scientific survey of the entire mosque premises shall help them to prove the facts mentioned in their plaint. It was further averred that the survey will also help the Court to come to a logical conclusion on the basis of material collected and report submitted by a fact-finding expert agency.
Significantly, the application asserted that the Gyanvapi Mosque is standing on the foundation of the ancient Hindu Temple and after Aurangzeb demolished a Hindu Temple existing at the site in question, the muslims started using the ruins of the Hindu Temple by converting the same and constructed a super-structure over a Hindu Temple and therefore, it is necessary, by virtue of Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act, to direct the ASI to conduct a survey and submit a report with regard to the crucial question involved in the suit.
In view of this, noting that the ASI is a premier institution of the country and it is well equipped with the necessary infrastructure and instruments for conducting GPR survey and other scientific methods to find out the age and nature of construction, the Court gave the following 11-point direction to the ASI's director :
(a) Undertake the scientific investigation/survey/excavation at the property in question excluding the areas sealed
(b) Conduct a detailed scientific investigation by using the GPR Survey, Excavation, Dating method and other modern techniques of the present structure to find out as to whether the same has been constructed over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple;
(c) Conduct a scientific investigation in the light of the averment made in this application after associating the Plaintiffs, Defendants and their respective counsels and submit a report to this Court upto August 04, 2023, and also to photograph and video-graph the entire survey proceedings;
(d) Investigate the age and nature of construction of the western wall of the building in question through the scientific method(s);
(e) Conduct Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey just below the 3 domes of the building in question and conduct the excavation, if required:
(f) Conduct Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey beneath the western wall of the building and conduct the excavation, if required;
(g) Conduct Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey beneath the ground of all the cellars and conduct the excavation, if required;
(h) Prepare a list of all the artefacts which are found in the building specifying their contents and carry out a scientific investigation and undertake a dating exercise to find out the age and nature of such artefacts;
(i) Conduct a dating exercise of the pillars and plinth of the building to find out the age and the nature of the construction;
(j) Conduct GPR survey, excavation wherever required, dating exercise and other scientific methods for determining the age and nature of construction existing at the site in question;
(k) Investigate the artefacts and other objects of historical and religious importance existing in different parts of the building and also beneath the structure which may be found during such exercise;
A further direction has also been issued to the Director of ASI to ensure that there is no damage to the structure standing on the disputed land and it remains intact and unharmed.
The Court has called for a Report by August 4 and the matter has been put for further proceedings on the same day.
In its 7-page order, the Court has observed that the survey will help in "just and proper disposal of the case" and "true facts" will come before the Court.
The order also takes into account the averments made in the application of the 4 Hindu Women Worshippers which stated that applicants that a glorious, magnificent temple of Lord Shiva existed at the site in question, however, the same was destroyed by muslim invaders and that in 1669, the temple was demolished pursuant to a farman issued by Mughal Ruler Aurangzeb.
Further, the order also refers to the survey of the mosque premises conducted last year by an Advocate Commissioner who purportedly reported that there are numerous artefacts and signs of a Hindu temple existing on the western wall of the building in question.
Against this backdrop, noting that the Supreme Court or the High Court has not stayed the proceedings of the suit, the Court directed the director of the ASI to conduct a scientific survey of the mosque premises without causing any damage to it.
The application had been filed through Advocates Hari Shankar Jain, Sudhir Tripathi, Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi and Vishnu Shankar Jain.
Click Here To Read/Download Court's Order