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Gyanvapi mosque case: Varanasi court to decide course of action today

The court took up the case following a Supreme Court directive to transfer the proceedings to the district judge.

Security personnel guard outside the Gyanvapi mosque after its survey by a commission, in Varanasi, May 17, 2022. (PTI Photo)

Directed by the Supreme Court to decide “on priority” pending proceedings related to the Gyanvapi-Kashi Vishwanath row, the Varanasi District Judge, who heard the matter Monday, will decide Tuesday the future course of action and the question of maintainability of the suit.

Last Friday, the Supreme Court said the application filed by the Committee of Management of Anjuman Intezamia Masajid, Varanasi, challenging the maintainability of the suit by five Hindu women, seeking the right to worship at Maa Shringar Gauri Sthal on the outer wall of the mosque complex, “shall be decided on priority by the District Judge upon the transfer of the suit”. It also said that “ascertainment of the religious character of a place is not barred” by the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.

In Varanasi, advocate Akhlaque Ahmed, representing Anjuman Intezamia Masajid, said, “We filed an application in the court today stating that as per the Supreme Court directive, the Varanasi court should first decide on the maintainability of the suit. The opposition (the Hindu side) raised demands to also hear the commission report filed recently.” The report Ahmed referred to was the report by a commission tasked by a local court to conduct a videographic survey of the mosque complex.

The counsel for the Hindu petitioners, advocate Sudhir Tripathi, said, “We requested the court to allow us to examine the commission report and the video taken during the survey because it is evidence in the case. In this regard, we submitted an application in court seeking permission to allow us to study the commission report. The opposition (the Muslim side) raised objection over our prayer and demanded that the court should first decide on the maintainability of the suit.”

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On Monday, only the applicants and their lawyers were allowed to enter the courtroom for the hearing which began shortly after 2 pm.

“After hearing both sides, District Judge Ajaya Krishna Vishvesha reserved his order. Tomorrow the court will decide its course of action and also when it will hear the issue of maintainability of the suit,” District Government Counsel (Civil) Mahendra Prasad Pandey said.

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