ASI seeks 8 more weeks to complete Gyanvapi mosque survey
The ASI filed an application in a Varanasi court seeking extension of its deadline to report on the survey. The deadline was 2 September
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has filed an application in a Varanasi court, seeking eight more weeks' time to submit its report on the Gyanvapi mosque survey.
The deadline was on 2 September, but the survey is still on.
The ASI is conducting its survey in the barricaded area of the Gyanvapi mosque premises, excluding the section sealed per an earlier court order. This survey began on 4 August.
On behalf of the ASI, standing government counsel Amit Kumar Srivastava filed an application. Srivastava says, "We prayed to the court to grant further eight weeks' time to ASI for submitting report of the survey of Gyanvapi mosque because the exercise is still going on."
"Our application was put up before the court of (the) additional district judge (first). The application was listed. The additional district judge (first) directed to put the matter before the district judge for hearing," Srivastava added.
He also said that the court has not yet fixed a date for the hearing of this matter.
Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi, counsel for plaintiffs listed as 2 to 5 in the Shringar Gauri–Gyanvapi matter, said, "The survey is still going on. Therefore, the ASI has sought more time for completing the survey and submitting the report."
Mumtaz Ahmad, the counsel for the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee (AIMC), which manages the Gyanvapi Masjid, said, "We will file an objection against it."
In compliance with an order of the court of the Varanasi district judge, the ASI is conducting a scientific investigation and survey of the Gyanvapi Masjid.
A team of archaeologists, archaeological chemists, epigraphists, surveyors and other experts are engaged in the investigations and documentation, the ASI's application said.
It also noted that the work related to the survey involves a slow process and will require some more time.
On 5 August, the court of the Varanasi district judge granted an additional four weeks to the ASI to submit a report on the Gyanvapi mosque's scientific survey, which resumed amid tight security on 4 August after the Allahabad High Court on 3 August vacated a stay and gave the go-ahead for the exercise. The Varanasi court ordered the ASI to submit report up to 2 September.
The Varanasi court had ordered the survey on 21 July and initially asked for submission of the report by 4 August.
In compliance with that order, the ASI had conducted a survey for more than four-and-a-half hours on 24 July, after which the Supreme Court the same day (24 July) halted the exercise till 5 p.m on 26 July and asked the AIMC, which manages the Gyanvapi Masjid, to approach the Allahabad High Court.
When the mosque committee moved the high court on 25 July, it extended the stay on the survey. The high court then gave its ruling on 3 August and allowed the exercise to go ahead.
AIMC moved the Supreme Court against the high court order again, but the top court refused to stay the survey on 4 August.
In the interim, a fresh plea has been filed asking for a survey of the wuzukhana, which is part of the proscribed area that the ASI was ordered to avoid.