On Friday, the Supreme Court transferred the Gyanvapi mosque case from the civil judge’s senior division to the Varanasi district judge’s court for trial. The apex court suggested that the Gyanvapi mosque case be heard by a district court in Varanasi because it should be handled by a “slightly more mature” and “seasoned hand.”
“This case should be heard by someone with a little more experience and maturity. We’re not criticising the trial judge. However, a more experienced hand should handle this case, which will benefit all parties,” the bench stated.
We accordingly order and direct that the Civil Suit from Civil Judge Senior Division Varanasi shall stand transferred to District Judge Varanasi and all interlocutory applications shall stand transferred.
The hearing of the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque case was adjourned by the Allahabad High Court on Friday until July 6. The HC was hearing a petition challenging a lawsuit pending in a Varanasi court regarding the dispute
The two reports on a videography survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex, which were submitted to the Varanasi court on Thursday, state that old temple debris was discovered outside the barricading, and Hindu motifs such as bells, Kalash, flowers, and Trishul were visible on pillars in the tehkhana (basement).
The Supreme Court stated that its May 17 interim order protecting the Shivling area and allowing Muslims to offer namaz will remain in effect. The court also asked Varanasi, the district magistrate, to make appropriate arrangements for Wazu, if not already made, in consultation with the parties.
The Supreme Court said that once the commission report on the Gyanvapi mosque case is out, there can’t be selective leaks because the bench is on a joint mission to keep the country united. “We are here on a joint mission to maintain the country’s sense of unity.” There can’t be selective leaks once the commission report is released. Do not give information to the press. While hearing the case, an apex court bench stated, “Only the judge opens the report.”
“Today the SLP is infructuous because all three orders have been complied with,” Senior Advocate CS Vaidyanathan, who represents the Hindu side, said. The mosque’s religious character must be determined. The report of the commission must be seen.
Senior Advocate CS Vaidyanathan representing the Hindu side said, “Today the SLP is infructuous since all three orders have been complied with. The religious character of the mosque has to be decided. The commission report has to be seen by the court,” Replying to this the Supreme Court said, “We took your point, that is why entrusting it to a district judge.”
The Muslim side had argued that the Varanasi court order appointing a commissioner for inspecting the mosque was in violation of the Places of Worship Act, 1991. However, the apex court said the ascertainment of the religious character of a place was not barred by Section 3 or 4 of the Act.
The Supreme Court, on May 16th, heard the appeal of the management of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, against the survey of the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex. The Supreme Court on Tuesday lifted the prohibition imposed by a Varanasi court on Muslims.
Varanasi Court Hearing
Special advocate commissioner Vishal Singh, the commission in charge of the videography survey of Varanasi’s Gyanvapi Mosque complex requested more time from the court to submit its report because it had not yet been completed. The commission had been earlier given time until Tuesday to submit its report by the Varanasi court.
The committee was then given two days to submit its report on the survey and videography.
Ajay Kumar Mishra, an advocate-commissioner, was removed from the court-appointed committee tasked with surveying the Gyanvapi Mosque. The order was issued by Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar. According to reports, Mishra was likely fired because information about the survey was leaked to the press before the report was submitted. The remaining two commissioners will now submit the survey report.
Supreme Court Hearing
Senior Adv Huzefa Ahmadi argued that the respondent’s prayer is seeking an injunction, which would prevent Muslims from entering the mosque and allow arti and prayer inside. “It clearly speaks about changing the structure’s religious character, which is currently a mosque,” he stated.
The advocate further said, “Varanasi Court on Monday ordered to seal a spot in the complex after being told by the Commissioner that a Shivling was found inside the Gyanvapi Mosque premises,” which is illegal as no notice was served.
Advocate Ahmadi was seeking a stay on all the orders of the trial court including the appointment of a commissioner and the status quo to stay as these orders are illegal and against a law of Parliament.
Advocate for petitioners also claimed that these orders are not good on grounds of jurisdiction. These orders whereby the commission etc have been appointed must come to a standstill. He further stated that the status quo as it existed on the date of suit should be maintained and hence, all orders are illegal.
He also argued that all the orders passed by the civil court in Varanasi go against the Supreme Court judgment in the Ayodhya case as stated then that “you cannot tinker the places of worship as existing on August 15, 1949.”
Brief of Supreme Court Order
Supreme Court ordered to ensure that the area where Shivling has been recovered would be protected by District Magistrate and Muslims will be allowed to offer Namaz and perform Wazu without any limitation and restriction to 20 people as ordered by the Trial court as religious right needs to be protected. The court will hear the matter again on May 19.
“In order to obviate any meaning and dispute on order of trial judge, the operation and ambit of the order dated May 16, 2022, shall stand restricted to the extent that the DM Varanasi shall ensure that the area where Shivling is found will be duly protected. The above direction shall not in any manner restrain or impede access of Muslims to the mosque or use of it for performing prayers and religious observances.”
On May 16, the court-ordered videography survey of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex was completed. Yesterday, nearly 65% of the exercise was completed. A shivling was discovered inside the well, according to lawyer Vishnu Jain of India Today TV. He stated that he would seek protection in civil court.
The shivling is 12 feet long and 8 inches wide. Madan Mohan Yadav, a Hindu advocate, claimed that the shivling was Nandi-facing. Heavy security was deployed as the court-appointed committee arrived on the scene to conduct the survey.
The survey of the areas of the mosque that used to be a part of the temple was completed on Sunday, according to lawyers Harishankar Jain and Vishnu Jain.
The remains of the Hindu temple demolition can be seen on the Gyanvapi complex’s western wall, and the photographs, which are the most convincing evidence, will be examined. The fourth lock was opened today, and the first three rooms were opened on Saturday during the survey.
The Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi, located next to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, is currently undergoing legal proceedings. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been ordered by a Varanasi court to investigate the structure of the Gyanvapi Masjid.
The Hindu side is requesting permission to worship at the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex on a daily basis, and the petitioners have asked for a survey of the complex in exchange.
According to reports, the Shivling was discovered after the water inside a pond-like well, which Muslims call Wuzukhana, was pumped out. Following the discovery of the Shivling during the survey, Civil Judge, Varanasi (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar ordered the disputed Gyanvapi structure to be sealed. In its order, the court stated that the Shivling discovery is substantial evidence and asked the CRPF commandant to secure the premises and prevent Muslims from entering.
“There is only a fountain in the wuzukhana in the Gyanvapi mosque,” Rais Ahmad Ansari said, adding that there is no Shivling in the Wajookhana. The structure that the petitioners claim is a Shivling is actually a fountain. It’s a deceptive claim.”
His comments came just hours after a court in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, ordered that a pond in the Gyanvapi Mosque complex is sealed over the Shivling claims and that no one be allowed to enter.
On Tuesday, a Supreme Court bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud will hear the masjid committee’s appeal against the Allahabad High Court’s order allowing a court-appointed commissioner to inspect, survey, and film the Gyanvapi Mosque. The three-day survey, which was conducted under tight security, came to an end just hours ago.
The Gyanvapi Mosque complex is a controversial construction which was built over the ruins of the destroyed ancient Kashi Vishwanath Temple by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb after it was vandalised several times by Islamic invaders such as Qutb al-Din Aibak and Aurangzeb.
Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore built the Kashi Vishwanath Temple complex in 1780, which is located next to the highly controversial mosque structure and where worshipers can perform puja and prayer.
Five Delhi-based women — Rakhi Singh, Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu and others moved the court with their plea on April 18, 2021, seeking permission for daily prayers before the idols of Hindu deities on its outer walls. They also sought to stop the opponents from causing any damage to the idols.