The Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant an interim order of status quo on the survey of the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
The top court, however, agreed to consider listing the plea of a Muslim party against the survey of the Gyanvapi premises.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana was told by senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the Muslim side in the Gyanvapi mosque case, that a plea has been filed against the survey being conducted at the Varanasi site.
“Let me see,” the CJI said on urgent listing of the plea.
“We have filed in relation to a survey which has been directed to be conducted in relation to the Varanasi property. This (Gyanvapi) has been a mosque since time immemorial and this is clearly interdicted by the Places of Worship Act,” Ahmadi said.
He said the direction to conduct a survey has been passed and an order of status quo be passed at the moment.
The CJI stated “I do not know anything. How can I pass such an order? I will read. Let me see.”
The Muslim side has been referring to the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 and its section 4 which bars filing of any suit or initiating any other legal proceeding for a conversion of the religious character of any place of worship, as existing on August 15, 1947.
The local court's May 12 order came on a plea by a group of women seeking permission for daily worship of Hindu deities whose idols are located on an outer wall of the mosque. A Varanasi local court on Thursday rejected a plea to replace the advocate commissioner it had appointed for conducting a videography survey of the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex here and ordered the completion of the task by May 17.
The district court also appointed two more lawyers to help the advocate commissioner carry out the survey at the mosque, which is located close to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple. The court yesterday ordered that the police should file FIRs if there are any further attempts to obstruct the videography survey.
The videographic survey of the mosque was ordered on April 18, 2021 by Judge Diwakar following the plea by Delhi residents Rakhi Singh, Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu and others.
The original suit was filed in 1991 in the Varanasi district court for the restoration of the ancient temple at the site where the Gyanvapi mosque currently stands. The plea has been taken in the suit that the said mosque is a part of the temple.
Varanasi's fast track court headed by a civil judge (senior division) had on April 8, 2021 directed the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct a survey of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex and ascertain if a temple was demolished to build the mosque that stands adjacent to the temple.
The Allahabad High Court, however, stayed the Varanasi court's order dated April 8, 2021. The high court stayed the Varanasi court order on petitions by Anjuman Intazamia Masjid and the Sunni Central Waqf Board.
Image source: ANI