STATE TIMES NEWS
New Delhi/ Lucknow: The Supreme Court on Friday extended till further orders the protection of the area where a ‘shivling’ was claimed to have been found in Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque complex.
A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices Surya Kant and PS Narasimha also allowed the Hindu parties to move an application before the Varanasi district judge for consolidation of all lawsuits filed on the Gyanvapi mosque-Shringar Gauri row. On Friday, cases related to the Gyanvapi mosque located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple also came up briefly in the Allahabad High Court and the Varanasi district court.
The case in the high court goes back to 1991 while the one in the Varanasi court relates to the more recent row – over permission to allow regular worship of idols on the mosque’s rear wall.
The Supreme Court also directed the Hindu parties to file their replies within three weeks on the appeal by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid committee challenging the Allahabad High Court order on the appointment of a survey commissioner.
On May 17, the SC had passed an interim order directing the Varanasi district magistrate to ensure protection of the area inside the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex where the structure claimed to be a ‘shivling’ was found during a survey.
The mosque committee, however, maintained that the structure was part of the water fountain mechanism at the ‘wazookhana’ reservoir where devotees perform ablutions before offering namaz.
The video survey was ordered by the court of the civil judge (senior division) in Varanasi. The SC transferred the case to the district judge on May 20, pointing at the complexities” and the “sensitivity” of the issue and saying that a more senior judicial officer should handle it.
In its earlier May 17 order, the top court had directed protection of the area around the claimed shivling” while also allowing Muslims to offer namaz in the mosque.
The SC had said the interim order shall remain in operation till the maintainability of the suit is decided by the district judge, and then for eight more weeks to allow the aggrieved parties to approach a higher court.
The Varanasi district judge is now hearing the plea by a group of women seeking permission for daily worship of idols of Hindu deities located on the mosque’s outer wall. The Hindu side has also sought a survey of two locked basements in the mosque complex.
On Friday, district judge A K Vishvesha fixed December 5 as the next date of hearing, according to government advocate Mahendra Pandey.
Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court adjourned the hearing in the 1991 Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque case to November 28.
This was done on a plea by the mosque committee, which had moved a petition challenging the maintainability of the original suit filed in the Varanasi district court.
Appearing for temple side, advocate C S Vaidyanathan argued that a survey should be conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to bring out the truth.
He claimed that looking at the mosque with the naked eye it seems that the structure is part of the temple complex.