A Varanasi Court today decided to hear on May 26, the Order 7 Rule 11 application filed by the defendants (including the Anjuman Islamia committee) questioning the maintainability of the suit filed by five Hindu women (plaintiffs).
The Court has also invited objections from both parties to the Commission Report. The objections have to be filed within 7 days. This order is in consonance with the directions of the Supreme Court issued on May 20 wherein it was said that Order 7 Rule 11 CPC application filed by Anjuman Islamia committee over the maintainability of the suit be decided on priority.
While hearing the case yesterday, the Court had reserved its order on the limited question as to whether it should decide on Order 7 Rule 11 CPC application filed by the Anjuman Committee first or to take into account the commission survey report (of the Mosque premises) and invite objections to it.
District and Sessions Judge Dr. Ajay Kumar Vishwesha had reserved the order after hearing the Counsels for the plaintiffs and respondents including the Anjuman Masjid Committee.
What happened yesterday?
For the uninitiated, the Court, last month ordered an inspection of the premises on petitions moved by five Hindu women asking for year-long access to pray at a Hindu shrine behind the western wall of the Gyanvapi Mosque complex in Varanasi.
They claim that the present Mosque premises was once a Hindu temple and it was demolished by Mughal Ruler Aurangzeb thereafter, the present mosque structure was built there.
On the other hand, the Anjuman Masjid committee has argued in its objection and order 7 rule 11 application that the suit is specifically barred by the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.
Yesterday, before the Court, the Plaintiffs argued that the Order 7 Rule 11 CPC application should not be heard in isolation & should be considered along with the Commission Report. They relied on Order 26 Rule 10 CPC.
Plaintiffs also argued that they should be provided with the CD, report, and pictures of the survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque. However, the Masjid committee argued that their application under O7R11 CPC must be heard first and that too, in isolation.
Having heard the parties, the Court had decided to pass orders today on whether to hear the Order 7 Rule 11 application of the Masjid Committee first or to invite objections to Commission Report. Court will also decide tomorrow on the course of action to be taken on hearing Order 7 Rule 11 application.
The background of the Case
The local court [presided by Varanasi civil judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar] had earlier appointed a survey commission to submit a report by visiting the mosque. The Court had received the survey report on May 19.
However, even before the submission of the survey report, the Court, on a submission made by the court-appointed Advocate Commissioner that it had found Shiva Linga inside the Gyanvapi Mosque premises during the survey, had ordered to seal the spot.
"The District Magistrate, Varanasi is ordered to immediately seal the place where the Shiva linga is found and the entry of any person is prohibited in the sealed place," the court had ordered.
Meanwhile, a petition was filed by the Masjid Committee before the Supreme Court challenging the survey ordered by the Varanasi court. Hearing the plea on May 17, the Supreme Court had clarified that the order passed by the Civil Judge Senior Division at Varanasi to protect the spot where a "shiv ling" was claimed to have been found during the survey of the Gyanvapi mosque will not restrict the right of Muslims to access the mosque to offer namaz and to perform religious observances.
Further, on May 20, the Supreme Court had transferred the suit filed by Hindu devotees in connection with the Gyanvapi Mosque-Kashi Vishwanath Temple dispute, to the District Court in Varanasi.
The Supreme Court also ordered that the application filed by the Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (which manages Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi) before the trial court under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC for rejection of the suit as being barred in law, shall be decided on priority by the District Judge.
Meanwhile, it was also ordered that its interim order dated May 17 shall continue in operation till the application is decided and for a period of 8 weeks thereafter. Further, the concerned District Magistrate was directed to make proper arrangements for observance of wuzu.