The Supreme Court on Friday said that the selective leaks of the commission report in the Gyanvapi mosque case must be stopped.
"The selective leaks of Commission report must stop", Justice DY Chandrachud, the presiding judge of the 3-judge bench, orally remarked.
"We must tell the other side that the selective leaks must stop. Once there is a commission report, it should be submitted to the court. Do not leak things to the press. You must present it to the judge", Justice Chandrachud said.
The bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and PS Narasimha, was hearing the special leave petition filed by the Masjid Committee against the orders passed by a civil court in Varanasi for survey of the mosque on a suit filed by few Hindu devotees.
Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the Masjid Committee, submitted that the Court must interdict the selective leaks of the Commission report which create a particular narrative in the media.
He pointed out that the Civil Court removed the Advocate Commissioner for leaking information to media; however, the leaked information was made the basis of the May 16 order of the Civil Court, which ordered the sealing of the spot in the wazukhana where the plaintiff's counsel claimed that the Advocate Commissioner spotted a Shivling.
"While the Commission is in progress, there is an application moved by plaintiff ex-parte, which relies on confidential proceedings of Commission to suggest a Shivling has been seen. According to us, it is a fountain....the Commissioner was removed for leaking and the leaked information was made the substratum of the order of May 16", Ahmadi submitted.
After the hearing today, the bench passed an order to transfer the suit from the Court of Civil Judge Senior Division to the District Court, Varanasi, saying that the matter should be tried before a "senior and experienced judicial officer", having regard to the "complexities and sensitivity involved in the matter".
The bench also directed the District Judge to decide on priority the question whether the suit is barred by the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991, by deciding the application filed by the Masjid Committee for the rejection of plaint under Order 11 Rule 7 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
The bench further directed the District Magistrate Varanasi to make appropriate arrangements for performance of wazu for the Muslim devotees in the mosque in consultation with the parties.
The interim order passed by the Supreme Court on May 17 - which directed the protection of the spot where shivling is stated to be found without impeding the rights of Muslims for namaz and religious observances - will continue till the Order 7 Rule 11 application is decided. The said interim order will continue for a further period of 8 weeks if the Order 7 Rule 11 application is decided against the Masjid side.
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