SC to consider listing Muslim side’s plea against Allahabad HC decision permitting ASI survey of Gyanvapi
The Allahabad high court had dismissed the Muslim side’s plea to stop ASI survey at Gyanvapi mosque
The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to consider listing the plea filed by the management committee of Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi against Allahabad High Court’s ruling that the ASI can survey the mosque premises, except for 'wuzu khana'.
"The High Court has pronounced the order in the matter that Milords has remanded to them. We filed an SLP (special leave petition) against that. We sent the email as per the protocol (SoP for mentioning)," said advocate Nizam Pasha, appearing for the Mosque Committee, while mentioning the matter for urgent listing.
"I will look into the email right away," responded CJI D.Y. Chandrachud, agreeing to consider listing the matter urgently.
In anticipation of the appeal, the Hindu plaintiffs on Thursday have also lodged a caveat or a notice submitted to an appellate court by a litigant who wishes to be heard in case any orders are issued regarding an opponent's appeal that challenges the decision or judgment made by the lower court.
In its order passed earlier on Thursday, the High Court dismissed the plea moved by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee challenging the order passed by Varanasi District Court directing the Archaeological Survey of India to survey the barricaded area of the mosque premises, barring the sealed area.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Pritinkar Diwakar of the high court brushed aside the Mosque Committee’s apprehensions that the survey may result in damage to the structure.
"The survey is required to do justice. Survey needs to be done with few conditions. Do survey, but without dredging," it said.
Earlier, the high court had directed the ASI not to carry out the survey until hearing in the case is completed.
In the last week of July, it had reserved its order in the matter after hearing the both sides.
The Mosque Committee had told the high court that the historic structure may fall during the ASI survey. On the other hand, the ASI had maintained that radar mapping will not affect the structure of the mosque.
In an interim relief passed on July 24, the Supreme Court ordered that Varanasi court’s direction allowing an extensive survey of the Gyanvapi Masjid by the ASI will not be enforced till 5 p.m. on July 26.
It asked the Masjid Committee to move the Allahabad High Court to challenge the order passed by the Varanasi district court.
On July 21, the district court directed the ASI to ascertain whether the mosque was built over a pre-existing Hindu temple, holding that the scientific investigation is "necessary" for the "true facts" to come out. The Varanasi court order sought a report from ASI up to August 4 when the matter will be taken up next. The court, however, ordered the exclusion of the section which had remained sealed since the Supreme Court order in May 2022.
The area under seal is where Hindus insist a Shivling has been found, while Muslims claim it is part of a fountain.
The district court order came on applications moved by four of the five Hindu plaintiffs who filed a suit in August 2021, demanding the right of unhindered worship at the Maa Shringar Gauri Sthal. The mosque management committee, in its reply, refuted that the mosque was built over a temple, maintaining the structure at the spot was always a mosque.
It opposed the survey, saying such an exercise cannot be ordered to collect evidence.
Published: 03 Aug 2023, 5:09 PM