In a significant development, a Varanasi Court was told today that the court-appointed Advocate Commissioner has found Shiva Linga inside the Gyanvapi Mosque premises during the survey. Pursuant to this, the Court has ordered to seal the place/area concerned.
"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 operative portion of the order reads.
The Court has also directed District Magistrate, Police Commissioner, and CRPF Commandment, Varanasi, to ensure the protection of the sealed place where Shivling has reportedly been found in the survey of the Gyanvapi mosque.
It may be noted that on May 12, the Court had ordered that survey work would continue to take place in the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashivishvanath temple premises and the commissioner, appointed earlier by the Court, would not be removed.
The Court had also appointed 2 more lawyers as commissioners to accompany Court commissioner Ajay Mishra for the survey and further, it was ordered the Commission to submit a report by May 17 before the court.
Importantly, the Supreme Court is set to hear tomorrow the petition challenging the survey ordered by the local Court in Gyanvapi mosque.
A bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and PS Narasimha will hear the petition filed by Committee of Management Ajnuman Intezamia Masjid Varanasi challenging the orders passed by a civil court in Varanasi for a survey of the mosque on a suit filed by a few Hindu devotees.
"An attempt to disturb the communal peace and harmony and in contravention to the Places of Worship Act" the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Management Committee has argued before the Supreme Court while challenging the survey ordered by a Varanasi court in Gyanvapi Mosque premises on a plea by a few Hindu devotees.
The present special leave petition has been filed challenging the recent order of the Allahabad High Court refusing to interfere in Varanasi Court's order directing the survey work to continue in the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashivishvanath temple premises.
It may be noted that after an urgent listing of the case was sought, a bench led by CJI NV Ramana had on Friday directed the case to be listed before a bench presided over by Justice DY Chandrachud, without fixing a specific date for the hearing.
A brief background of the matter
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.
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.
During the survey, there was a ruckus outside the Gyanvapi campus and the masjid committee members were demanding that the survey and videography inside the mosque premises be stopped.
Thereafter, a petition was filed on behalf of the Anjuman Islamia Masajid Committee demanding the removal of Advocate Commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra. After 3 days of arguments, the Court, on May 12, ordered that the survey of the premises shall continue.
In its order, the Judge expressed his own concerns about the safety of his family and their anxiety over the safety of the Judge. In the order, he remarked thus:
"An atmosphere of fear was created by making this simple civil case into an extraordinary case. The fear is so much that my family is always concerned about my safety and I am concerned about their safety. Concerns about safety are repeatedly expressed by my wife when I am out of the house. Yesterday, my mother (in Lucknow) during our conversation also expressed concerns about my safety, and from the news received by the media, she came to know that maybe I am also going to the spot as commissioner and my mother asked me that I should not go on commission on the spot, as it may endanger my safety."
The Court also opined that it was not justiciable to question the appointment of Advocate Ajay Mishra as Court commissioner as he had only conducted a partial survey of the premises pursuant to the Court's orders.
The opposite parties were demanding that the Court Commissioner should be changed as he working under the pressure of the petitioners. However, the Court did not find any ground in their prayer.
Refusing to remove the Advocate Commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra, who was appointed for the survey of Gyanvapi Masjid, the Court has, however, appointed two new commissioners - Vishal Kumar Singh and Ajay Singh.
In their arguments before the Court, the 5 petitioners argued that the Advocate Commissioner was not allowed to do videography and survey by the opposite parties on the other side of the barricading i.e. inside the Gyanvapi Masjid and in the basement.
It has also been said on behalf of the petitioners that the opposite parties prevented him from going inside the Gyanvapi mosque and inside the basement saying that there is no such order of the court.