Varanasi Court to Decide if it Will Hear Maintainability Arguments First


A district court here will decide Tuesday whether to hear first the Hindu petitioners’ plea to invite objections to the Gyanvapi mosque survey report or the Muslim side’s case that the writ is not maintainable. The court of District Judge AK Vishevesh on Monday heard pleas of both sides after the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex case was transferred to it by the Supreme Court, said District Government Counsel Rana Sanjeev Singh. A fresh plea seeking permission to worship the “Shivling” claimed to have been found on the Gyanvapi mosque premises during a videography survey ordered by a lower court was also filed.

The apex court had on Friday transferred the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex case from a civil judge (senior division) to a district judge, saying looking at the “complexities” and “sensitivity” of the issue, it is better if a senior judicial officer having an experience of over 25-30 years handles this case. “After hearing arguments on both sides, the court will on Tuesday give its verdict on which plea is to be heard first,” said Singh as well as Madan Mohan Yadav, a lawyer for the Hindu side.

The Hindu side argued that since a court-appointed commission has completed its survey work, the opponents should present their objections to it. Yadav said they pleaded to make available the commission’s report and videography done by it to present its side on it.

Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee’s lawyer Mohammad Tauhid Khan argued that the writ is not maintainable under order 7 and Rule 11 of the CPC (Civil Procedure Code), hence, it should be dismissed. A fresh petition was also moved by Dr Kulpati Tiwari, Mahant of Kashi Vishwanath temple, for regular “pujan” (worship) of the Shivling, which he said was found in the Gyanvapi mosque complex.

On May 16, the lower court had directed the district administration to seal a spot in the Gyanvapi Masjid complex after counsels representing the Hindu petitioners said a Shivling was found during a court-mandated videography survey. A mosque management committee spokesperson disputed the claim, telling a television channel that the object was part of a “fountain”. He said lawyers representing the mosque committee were not fully heard before the sealing order was announced.

The Hindu side claimed that the Shivling was found close to the “wazokhana” –a small reservoir used by Muslim devotees to perform ritual ablutions before offering the namaz.

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