SHRINGAR GAURI-GYANVAPI CASE: Court completes hearing on 2 pleas, orders likely on September 26
The Varanasi district court completed the hearing on two pleas related to the Shringar Gauri-Gyanvapi case and set September 26 for the respective orders. One plea sought to stop the ongoing survey by the ASI in the Gyanvapi mosque complex, while the other asked to keep the evidence found in the survey in a storehouse. The court also heard another plea seeking a survey in the sealed area of Gyanvapi.
The Varanasi district court on Thursday completed hearing on two pleas related to Shringar Gauri-Gyanvapi case and fixed September 26 for the respective orders on them.
One of these pleas was filed by Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee (AIMC) seeking an order to stop the ongoing survey by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the Gyanvapi mosque complex, Varanasi. The other application by four Hindu women plaintiffs sought an order to the district magistrate to keep the evidences being found in the ongoing Gyanvapi survey in the “malkhana” (store house).
On the plea seeking an order to stop the ASI survey, counsel for AIMC Mumtaz Ahmad and Raees Ansari presented their arguments, whereas advocate Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi argued on behalf of the four Hindu women plaintiffs in the other matter.
Raees Ansari said, “We presented our arguments regarding our plea seeking an order to stop the ongoing survey by ASI in the Gyanvapi mosque premises. Counsel for the plaintiffs ( four Hindu women) also presented their arguments. Hearing on the plea was completed and the court fixed September 26 as date for the order.”
In the second week of August, the AIMC, which manages the Gyanvapi mosque, filed an application in the Varanasi district court, seeking an order to stop the ASI survey in Gyanvapi. The committee argued that the Hindu plaintiffs have not deposited the expenditure for the survey, as mandated under the General Rules (Civil).
Section 70 of the General Rules (Civil), which is applicable to all matters in civil courts subordinate to the high court, mandates that all expenses to be incurred on a commission are to be deposited in advance in the court before the commencement of proceedings. The expenses are to be deposited by the party concerned. In the present matter, the party concerned are the Hindu plaintiffs Rekha Pathak, Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahoo, Manju Vyas.
“…ASI has not given any written or vocal information regarding the survey to us (the) defendants so far, neither any time was determined for it,” the AIMC had said in its application.
The committee pointed out that the ASI first conducted the survey on July 24 and it has been conducting the exercise daily in the Gyanvapi mosque premises since August 4.
“The proceeding of the survey is against the rule… We urged the court to pass an order to stop the survey being done by the ASI in Gyanvapi premises,” Akhlaque Ahmad, counsel for the mosque panel, had said.
The ASI survey of the Gyanvapi mosque, which abuts the Kashi Vishwanath temple, restarted on August 4 after the Allahabad high court cleared the decks for it the previous day, holding that scientific investigation was necessary in the interest of justice and would benefit both parties. The Supreme Court has refused to stay the survey.
The Varanasi court on Thursday also heard the plea that plaintiff numbers 2 to 5 in the Shringar Gauri-Gyanvapi case filed on September 8. This plea sought an order to the district magistrate to keep the evidences being found in the ongoing survey by ASI in Gyanvapi premises. The AIMC filed an objection against it on September 11. Both the sides presented their arguments. The court heard arguments of both the sides and the hearing was completed in the matter.
Advocate Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi said, “Hearing on our plea was completed and the court fixed September 26 for the order on the plea.”
Meanwhile, hearing on a plea seeking a court order to conduct a survey in the sealed area of the Gyanvapi took place in the Varanasi district court on Thursday, said advocate Anupam Dwivedi, counsel for Rakhi Singh, plaintiff number 1 in the Shringar Gauri-Gyanvapi case. Singh had filed the plea in the Varanasi district court last month.
Dwivedi said that during hearing, the Muslim side asked for a copy of the application. A copy of the application will be provided to them.
The counsel for AIMC Raees Ansari said that they urged the court that they should be provided a copy of the application on which, the court directed the counsel for the plaintiff to provide a copy.
The court fixed September 28 as the next date of hearing.
The Varanasi district court in July this year ordered an extensive survey of the barricaded area of Gyanvapi Masjid, excluding its sealed section, by ASI to ascertain whether the mosque was built over a pre-existing Hindu temple, holding that the scientific investigation is “necessary” for the “true facts” to come out. The area under seal since May 2022 in consonance with a Supreme Court order is where Hindus insist a Shivling has been found, while Muslims claim it is part of a fountain.