Correction Made by SC in Relation to Gyanvapi Mosque Case
Interim Plea Gains Strength as ASI Survey Stays Temporarily
New Delhi, 26 July (City Times): In a notable development, the Supreme Court rectified its previous order regarding the Gyanvapi mosque case. The correction came after the court mistakenly disposed of an appeal by the committee that questioned the maintainability of a suit filed by Hindus seeking worship rights inside the mosque. Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, along with Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, took note of senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi’s submissions, representing the Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia of the Gyanvapi mosque, and made the necessary corrections in the order.
Empowering the Interim Plea
Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi brought attention to the fact that during the July 24 hearing, the main plea was inadvertently disposed of instead of the interim plea, which sought a stay on the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) survey on the mosque premises. The survey aimed to determine whether the mosque was built upon a temple. The committee’s appeal against Order 7 Rule 11 had been dismissed without proper arguments. Ahmadi further clarified that the matter concerning the ASI survey is already before the Allahabad High Court, where they can argue that their appeal should not have been dismissed. (Gyanvapi Mosque)
ASI Survey Stayed Temporarily
On July 24, the Supreme Court granted relief on the interim plea by temporarily staying the ASI survey until 5 pm on July 26. The survey aimed to investigate whether the Gyanvapi mosque, situated adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, was constructed upon a temple.
No Objection from Solicitor General
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Uttar Pradesh government and the ASI, expressed no objection to the correction of the order, signaling agreement with the rectification.
Background of the Case
The main plea filed by the mosque committee sought the dismissal of a lawsuit by the Hindu party in the Varanasi district court, claiming that it was filed on improperly stamped and unauthorized paper.
The ASI Survey and Ongoing Disputes
Varanasi district judge AK Vishvesha issued an order for the ASI survey of the Gyanvapi complex following an application made by four Hindu women on May 16, 2023. However, the district judge excluded the ablution pond area, following the top court’s order to seal it.
A structure, claimed to be a “Shivling” by the Hindu side and a “fountain” by the Muslim side, was discovered during a court-mandated survey on May 16 last year. The Allahabad High Court had initially permitted a scientific survey and carbon dating of the “Shivling” but the Supreme Court stayed the order on May 19, 2022.
The High Court then directed the Varanasi District judge to proceed with a scientific probe of the “Shivling,” based on the application filed by Hindu worshippers.
The Gyanvapi mosque case remains a matter of contention, and the Supreme Court’s recent correction has bolstered the interim plea while the ASI survey continues to be a subject of debate and scrutiny.