The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned to tomorrow the hearing in the Gyanvapi mosque case on a request made on behalf of the plaintiffs before the Varanasi civil court. The Court directed the Varanasi civil court to not pass any orders today in the case.
When the matter was taken, Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain submitted that Advocate Hari Shankar Jain, who represents the plaintiffs before the civil court, was discharged from the hospital only yesterday and requested for adjournment till tomorrow.
Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the Masjid Committee, submitted that the trial court is hearing today applications seeking to alter the wall of the wazukhana of the mosque, and prayed that the proceedings should be stayed if the hearing is getting deferred.
"We'll keep it tomorrow but don't proceed before the trial court today since they have apprehension", Justice Chandrachud told Jain.
Jain agreed to not press the proceedings before the trial court till tomorrow.
"We accordingly direct trial court to strictly act according to the arrangement as here and it should desist from passing any orders", the bench stated in the order. The bench will hear the matter tomorrow.
The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and PS Naramsimha was considering petition filed by the Masjid Committee challenging the survey ordered by the Varanasi court.
On May 17, the Top Court 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. It had also directed the District Magistrate concerned to ensure that the place inside the Mosque where 'Shiv Ling' is stated to have been found is protected. However, it ordered that this should not restrict the right of Muslims to offer Namaz and religious observances.
The bench passed this clarification after noticing that the operative portion of the Varanasi Court's order had stated that the application filed by the plaintiff has been allowed, although the specific direction issued by it was to seal the spot and to protect the sealed spot and to restrict the entry of people into the sealed spot. However, the application filed by the plaintiff had sought for several reliefs, such as to restrict the number of Muslims entering the mosque for offering namaz as 20 and to prohibit them from performing "wazu" (ablution process).
The present dispute pertains to the land where Gyanvapi Mosque is situated in Varanasi and has been in courts since 1991. In 1991 a suit was filed by devotees of the Kashi Vishwanath temple near which the Gyanvapi Mosque is situated alleging that the Mosque was built after a Lord Vishweshwar's temple was destroyed by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
Another suit was filed in 2021 by female devotees and worshippers of Lord Shiva, practicing the vedic sanatan hindu dharma before Civil Senior Judge, Varanasi seeking "restoration of performance of rituals at principal seat of an Ancient Temple" at the Gyanvapi mosque area"
The dispute has now reached the Apex Court after multiple orders having been passed by both the Civil Court in Varanasi and the Allahabad High Court since 1991 on pleas by both the Hindi devotees and Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Varanasi and others. The proceedings in the 1991 suit has been stayed by the Allahabad High Court.
The Varanasi Court had 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. The site is currently opened for prayers once a year.
The local court had earlier directed the authorities to submit a report by May 10, however, the survey could not take place as the mosque committee had opposed the videography inside the mosque.
Thereafter, a petition was filed on behalf of the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee demanding the removal of Advocate Commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra. After 3 days of arguments, the Court ordered that the survey of the premises shall continue.
The Court has appointed 2 more lawyers as commissioners to accompany Court commissioner Ajay Mishra for the survey and further, it has been ordered the Commission to submit a report by May 17 before the court.
The court has also ordered that the entire mosque complex be surveyed and further directed that till the survey is not completed, it shall continue.
The petitioners before the Apex Court are being represented through Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, Senior Advocate Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi, Advocate Nizamuddin Pasha, Advocate Ibad Mushtaq and Advocate Kanishka Prasad.