19 May 2023 10:05 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Friday directed to put on hold the scientific investigation of a structure inside the Varanasi Gyanvapi mosque which the Hindu plaintiffs claim to be a 'Shivalinga' and the Mosque committee claims to a fountain. A bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice KV Viswanathan passed the order in a special leave petition filed...
The Supreme Court on Friday directed to put on hold the scientific investigation of a structure inside the Varanasi Gyanvapi mosque which the Hindu plaintiffs claim to be a 'Shivalinga' and the Mosque committee claims to a fountain.
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice KV Viswanathan passed the order in a special leave petition filed by Anjuman Islamia Masjid committee (which manages Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi) against the Allahabad High Court’s order passed on May 12, which directed the scientific survey of the 'Shivlinga' to ascertain the age of the structure.
The bench directed that the implementation of the directions contained in the High Court's order shall stand deferred till the next date of hearing.
Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the Masjid Committee, said that the survey steps will commence on next Monday. Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State of Uttar Pradesh, expressed concerns regarding damage to the structure during the process.
"Since the implications of the impugned order merit closer scrutiny, the implementation of the directions concerned in the order shall stand deferred till the next date", the bench noted in the order.
Ahmadi submitted that the High Court passed the order even as the judgment on the petition filed by the Masjid Committee questioning the maintainability of the suit has been reserved since December 2022. He said that the ASI's report was presented before the Court on May 11 and the order was passed the next day, without giving proper opportunity to the Mosque Committee to file detailed objections.
Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, appearing for the Hindu plaintiffs in the case, submitted that ASI report says that the survey can be done without causing damage to the structure and requested the bench to call for the report.
The Allahabad High Court, on May 12, directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a scientific survey (using modern techniques) of the 'Shiva Linga' that has purportedly been found inside the Gyanvapi Mosque premises in Varanasi to ascertain its age. The order was passed by the bench of Justice Arvind Kumar Mishra-I while allowing a revision plea moved by 4 women Hindu worshippers challenging the Varanasi Court's October 14 order wherein the court had rejected their plea. The High Court directed that the process should be carried out under the supervision of the Varanasi District Judge. The concerned authority of the ASI was directed to appear before the trial Judge on May 22 to seek suitable direction for carrying out the scientific investigation of the structure
A prayer for a scientific probe of the 'Shiva Linga' was earlier made before the Varanasi Court in September 2022, however, the same was rejected taking into account the Supreme Court's May 17, 2022 order to protect the spot where the "Shiva Linga" was claimed to have been found.
On May 16, the Varanasi District Court granted time till May 19to the Anjuman Islamia Masjid committee to file their reply/objection, if any, on a new application filed by 4 Hindu women worshippers seeking a survey of the entire Gyanvapi mosque premises by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to find out as to whether the Mosque had been constructed over a pre-existing structure of the Hindu temple.
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