On Thursday (August 03), the Allahabad High Court delivered a significant verdict on the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi. The court rejected the plea of the Anjuman Intejamia Masjid Committee and upheld the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque.
The order for the ASI survey was initially issued by the Varanasi district judge on July 21.
The Muslim side had previously challenged the ASI survey in both the Supreme Court and the High Court. However, the High Court has now rejected their petition.
The court stated that conducting the ASI survey is essential for delivering justice in the matter, subject to certain conditions that need to be to followed while conducting the survey.
In recent days, the district judge, A.K. Vishwesh, had issued an order for conducting a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque premises on July 21. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was tasked to submit the survey report to the Varanasi district court by August 4.
In line with this order, the ASI team arrived at Gyanvapi Mosque on July 24 to initiate the survey.
However, the Muslim side approached the Supreme Court, seeking an injunction on the survey. In response, the Supreme Court temporarily stayed the survey for two days and directed the mosque committee to approach the High Court. Subsequently, the Muslim party moved to the Allahabad High Court.
After the hearing, the Allahabad High Court rejected the plea of the Muslim party to halt the ASI survey. The court's decision clears the way for the ASI to proceed with the survey as per the earlier order by the district judge.
In August 2021, five women filed a plea before the Senior Civil Judge (Senior Division) in Varanasi, requesting permission to perform daily prayers and offer worship at the Gauri Shankar temple, situated adjacent to the Gyanvapi Mosque.
Following this plea, Judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar ordered an advocate survey of the mosque premises.
The survey took place for three days, during which the Hindu party claimed to have discovered a Shiva Lingam within the mosque complex. The Muslim party, however, argued that it was a fountain, commonly found in mosques.
In the aftermath, the Hindu side demanded the sealing of the disputed site. The Sessions Court ordered the site's sealing, prompting the Muslim party to approach the Supreme Court in opposition.
The Supreme Court directed the transfer of the case to the district judge for regular hearings to determine its maintainability as per the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.
The Muslim party argued that the case was not maintainable under the act as the dispute did not pertain to a place of worship but rather to an ASI survey. However, the court deemed it worthy of hearing.
Subsequently, four of the five women filed a petition in May of the same year, urging the ASI to conduct a survey of the entire premises, excluding the disputed area of the Gyanvapi Mosque.
Responding to this plea, District Judge A.K. Vishwesh ordered the ASI to conduct the survey.
The Gyanvapi Mosque dispute remains contentious, and the ASI's survey is expected to shed light on the historical and architectural aspects of the site.