Gyanvapi Mosque Case: What is the case about along with current updates
The Gyanvapi Mosque Case: On Wednesday, July 26, the Allahabad High Court is scheduled to conduct a hearing regarding the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi. The case was brought before the Chief Justice of Allahabad HC after a request from the Muslim side during the Tuesday hearing. The court’s verdict is anticipated to be delivered on the same day.
The Supreme Court has issued a stay on the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) survey to determine whether the Gyanvapi mosque, situated adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, was built on a temple. The top court has suspended the ASI survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex until 5 pm on July 26.
The apex court ruled that the order from the Allahabad High Court would not be enforced until July 26. In the meantime, the Supreme Court instructed the mosque committee to appeal to the Allahabad High Court.
Vishnu Shankar Jain, representing the Hindu side in the Gyanvapi mosque case, stated that the Supreme Court has issued a stay on the execution of the Varanasi court’s order for the survey of the Mosque complex. This stay allows the Anjum to challenge it before the High Court. Jain mentioned that their legal team is heading to the High Court to oppose this decision. He also expressed his belief that the truth of Gyanvapi will be revealed only after the ASI survey. Jain asserted that the High Court will independently decide the matter, regardless of any observations made by the Supreme Court, and the Allahabad HC will make a judgment based on its own merit.
Previously, on Friday, the Varanasi Court directed the conduct of an ASI survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex, with the exception of the ‘Wazukhana’ area, which has been sealed.
What is the Gyanvapi Mosque Case?
The current case originated from a petition filed by five Hindu devotees in August 2021, requesting the right to offer daily prayers before Hindu idols located on the outer walls of the Gyanvapi Mosque.
During the hearing of the petition, a videography survey was ordered. This survey revealed the presence of a ‘Shivling’ in proximity to the “wazookhana” (ablution pond) within the mosque premises. To determine its age, carbon dating of the ‘Shivling’ was proposed. However, the mosque committee objected, claiming that it was not a Shivling but a fountain.
Here is a concise timeline of the present Gyanvapi Mosque case:
- April 8: Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar orders a videography survey.
- April 21: The mosque committee challenges the survey order in the Allahabad High Court, but their plea is dismissed. The survey commences on May 6.
- May 13: The mosque committee approaches the Supreme Court seeking a stay of Varanasi court proceedings, arguing that the survey violates the Places of Worship Act. However, the SC does not stay the survey.
- May 16: The Varanasi Civil Court orders the sealing of the area in Gyanvapi Mosque where the ‘Shivling’ was found. It also restricts namaz inside the mosque.
- May 17: The Supreme Court orders the protection of the ‘Shivling’ and allows Muslims to continue offering namaz inside the mosque.
- May 19: The SC defers the hearing to May 20.
- May 20: The Supreme Court transfers the case from the Varanasi Civil Court to the District Court, stating that such a sensitive case is better suited for a more senior judge. The district court is instructed to decide on the mosque committee’s maintainability plea first. The previous order protecting the ‘Shivling’ and Muslims’ right to offer namaz is extended until the district court’s decision.
- September 12: The Varanasi District Court rules on the maintainability of the plea, rejecting the mosque committee’s challenge to the Hindu devotees’ petition. The court states that the Places of Worship Act does not bar this petition since it seeks only prayer rights and does not intend to change the religious character of the mosque.
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