Varanasi Court Rejected Muslim Side Plea In Gyanvapi Mosque Dispute
Varanasi district and sessions court on Monday rejected the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee's challenge against the civil suit of Hindu plaintiffs that questioned the validity of Gyanvapi mosque title and the land surrounding it.
What Is Gyanvapi Mosque Case?
In April 2022, five Hindu women filed petitions before the district court seeking the right to worship Maa Shringar Gauri on the wall of the Gyanvapi masjid complex located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Based on the Hindu plaintiffs' plea, the district court ordered a videography survey of the complex in May. The survey of the mosque was completed on May 16, and its reports were submitted before the court on May 19.
As per the report findings, the Hindu side claimed that a structure resembling a Shivling was found in the mosque complex. However, the Muslim side actively rejected those claims and cited that sculpture as a fountain.
To this claim, the Hindu side submitted a fresh plea before the court to conduct an archaeological survey of the mosque premises and declare that Muslims have no right to occupy the Gyanvapi mosque. Hence, their entry into the premises should be banned immediately. The Muslim side then challenged the validity of those claims and the plea of Hindu plaintiffs, whose dismissal order was passed by district judge AK Vishvesh today, September 12, 2022, ruling.
With today's ruling, the path for a detailed discussion into the matter opened up. Now, the further proceedings into the civil suit of Hindu plaintiffs will follow a legal cum archaeological process in future hearings.
Supreme Court's Response To Gyanvapi Masjid Dispute
Following the submission of the video reports by the court-appointed committee before the district and sessions court, Anjuman Intejamia Masjid Committee reached the apex court to challenge the suit filed by five female petitioners seeking darshan at the Gyanvapi Mosque complex. However, the Supreme Court decided that it would await the Varanasi district judge's decision on the Gyanvapi mosque committee's application and posted the matter for further hearing in October's first week.
The court ordered that it would look into the matter based on the outcome of the district court's orders in this matter. Notably, the SC bench transferred the case from a civil judge (senior division) to a district judge (DJ), citing the issue as complex and sensitive at the same time. Therefore, it appointed a senior judicial officer having 25-30 years of experience in civil cases.
The bench also ruled that the government will ensure that Muslims should not be barred from entering the mosque premises to offer namaz or religious observances. For this, the court observed that the process of ascertaining the religious character of a place of worship is not barred under the Places of Worship Act 1991.
Further Advancements Into The Matter
Based on the judgement of the Varanasi district and sessions court, the Hindu side will seek for Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) survey and carbon dating of 'Shivling'. The case is listed for further hearing on September 22 in the same court.
However, the Anjuman Intezamia Committee representing the Muslim side, claimed that it would challenge the Varanasi court ruling on the Gyanvapi case in Allahabad High Court.
Layer Of Joy On The Faces Of Hindu Plaintiffs
With the session court's order in their favour, a layer of joy emerged on the faces of Hindu plaintiffs and lawyers. One of the plaintiffs in the case, Sohan Lal Arya, said, "It's a wind for the Hindu community. The next hearing is on September 22. It's a foundation stone for the Gyanvapi temple. Appeal to the people to maintain peace".
The lawyer from the Hindu side addressed the media by saying, "The court has accepted our argument. The application of the Muslim side is rejected. The court has said that the petition is maintainable. Now the next hearing of this case will be on September 22".
As of now, the district administration imposed Section-144 of CrPC to prevent any kind of mishappenings in the district and surrounding regions. Similarly, the police force carried out a flag march in the state capital.