The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which takes care of 22 mosques including the Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi, has moved the Allahabad High Court challenging the District Court’s order passed on July 21 for the ASI survey of the Mosque Premises (except for Wuzukhana).
The petition was filed a day after the Supreme Court on Monday directed that Varanasi Court’s order should not be enforced till 5 p.m. July 26 so as to allow some “breathing time” to the Masjid committee to approach the High Court. The apex court’s July 24 order was passed by a bench comprising Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra while requesting the High Court Chief Justice to allow a hearing on Masjid.s plea before its interim order expires on July 26.
During the hearing, the 3-Judge bench also took note of a statement made on behalf of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) that it is not planning to carry out any excavation of the Gyanvapi site at least for a week, though the Varanasi District Court had allowed such excavation to determine if the 16th century mosque was built over a pre-existing temple.
Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta had informed the Court about the ASI’s stance when the Gyanvapi Masjid Committee sought a stay of the Varanasi Court order. On July 21, the Varanasi District Court allowed an application filed by four Hindu women worshippers seeking a scientific survey of the entire Gyanvapi mosque (except for Wuzukhana) by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to find out whether the Mosque had been constructed over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple.
The court of District Judge A.K. Vishwesha passed this order in an application moved in May this year (under Section 75(e) and Order 26 Rule 10A of CPC) by the four Hindu Women worshippers in a suit pending before the Court (Rakhi Singh and others vs State of UP and others) seeking all year-round worshipping rights in the complex. In its 7-page order, the Court observed that the survey will help in “just and proper disposal of the case” and “true facts” will come before the Court. The Court also called for a report by August 4 and the matter has been put for further proceedings on the same day.