Allahabad HC allows suits seeking restoration of temple at Gyanvapi | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Allahabad HC rejects Muslim side's pleas, allows suits seeking restoration of temple at Gyanvapi

By | Reported by JItendra Sarin
Dec 19, 2023 10:39 AM IST

The primary contention was that the suit is prohibited by the Places of Worship Act (Special Provisions) Act of 1991.

The Allahabad high court on Tuesday dismissed a batch of petitions filed by the Muslim side challenging the maintainability of a civil suit pending before a Varanasi court seeking the restoration of a temple at the site where the Gyanvapi mosque exists. According to the Hindu side plaintiff, the Gyanvapi mosque is a part of the temple.

Varanasi: In this Aug. 8, 2023 file photo, archaeological Survey of India (ASI) team members during scientific survey at the Gyanvapi mosque complex, in Varanasi. (PTI)
Varanasi: In this Aug. 8, 2023 file photo, archaeological Survey of India (ASI) team members during scientific survey at the Gyanvapi mosque complex, in Varanasi. (PTI)

The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which runs the Gyanvapi mosque, the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, and others had challenged the maintainability of this suit, arguing that it was barred under the 1991 Places of Worship Act, which locks the religious character of holy sites as it existed on the day of independence, except the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.

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The court asserted that the suit, which is of national importance, is maintainable and not barred by the Places of Religious Worship Act, 1991. The court added that the mosque complex can have either a Muslim character or a Hindu character and can't have a dual religious character.

The court further asked the lower court to complete the hearing on the suit within six months, underscoring the urgency of the matter.

The decision holds substantial implications for the ongoing legal battle surrounding the sacred site.

The verdict comes a day after the ASI submitted a survey report in a sealed cover on the mosque complex in the district court, which scheduled the next hearing for December 21. If further investigation is deemed necessary, the lower court may instruct the ASI to conduct an additional survey, the court said.

The Kashi Vishwanath temple is one of the holiest Hindu shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located on the western bank of the Ganges River in Varanasi. The Gyanvapi Mosque is adjacent to the temple and was constructed by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th century.

The dispute has witnessed multiple legal proceedings in various courts over the years, and the case has been a source of tension and controversy.

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