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Gyanvapi Mosque Case Highlights: Varanasi court to hear on May 26 Muslim side’s plea seeking to reject Hindu petitioners’ civil suit

Gyanvapi Mosque Case Highlights: While the Masjid committee has argued that the suit is barred under the Places of Worship Act, the Hindu petitioners have said that the survey report should be considered.

Varanasi's Gyanvapi Mosque, Gyanvapi Masjid CaseThe Gyanvapi mosque after its survey by a commission, in Varanasi. (PTI, file)

Gyanvapi Mosque Case Highlights: The Varanasi district court, hearing the civil suit on the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Viswanath temple complex dispute, will hear on May 26 the Order 7 Rule 11 application by the Muslim side seeking to reject the civil suit of the Hindu side seeking claim on Gyanvapi mosque.

Meanwhile, the judge has sought objections on the advocate Commissioner survey report of Gyanvapi mosque from both the Hindu and Muslim side. The court was to deliver the order Tuesday on whether to invite objections on the survey report or conduct hearing on Order 7 Rule 11 application of the Masjid committee first. While the Masjid committee has argued that the suit is barred under the Places of Worship Act, the Hindu petitioners have said that the survey report should be considered.

The Varanasi court started hearing the case on Monday after the Supreme Court on Friday ordered the transfer of the pending proceedings to the District Judge, Varanasi, for “trial and all interlocutory and ancillary proceedings”.

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Gyanvapi Mosque Case Highlights: Varanasi court to hear on May 26 Muslim side's plea seeking to reject Hindu petitioners' civil suit; Follow this space for Latest Updates

17:24 (IST)24 May 2022
Varanasi court asks both sides to submit objection on commission report within one week

The Varanasi district court has asked both sides to file an objection to the commission report and submit the report within one week, said Hindu petitioners' Advocate Vishnu Jain. (ANI) 

15:51 (IST)24 May 2022
Gyanvapi case: District court to decide on maintainability on May 26

A district court on Tuesday fixed May 26 for hearing on the maintainability of the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex case.

The court of District Judge A K Vishevesh will hear the matter as per directions of the Supreme Court, District Government Counsel Rana Sanjeev Singh said.

Singh said the court also gave a week's time to both Hindu and Muslim sides to file objections to the report of a court-mandated videography survey of the Gyanvapi mosque premises. (PTI)

15:50 (IST)24 May 2022
Varanasi district court judge hearing objections on Commissioner survey report of Gyanvapi mosque

Varanasi district court judge has sought objections on the advocate Commissioner survey report of Gyanvapi mosque from both the Hindu and Muslim side.

14:28 (IST)24 May 2022
Security tightened at Varanasi District Court, lawyers assemble

According to the Bar and Bench, security was tightened ahead of the hearing at the Varanasi District Court today to restrict entry. The lawyers from both sides have assembled in the courtroom.

The judge is expected to pass orders shortly.

13:29 (IST)24 May 2022
Varanasi District Court to resume hearing shortly

The Varanasi District Court, which had reserved its order on the Gyanvapi mosque matter on Monday, is set to decide on the course of action and the maintainability of the suit today.

13:03 (IST)24 May 2022
Social media posts over Gyanvapi mosque row: JNUTA condemns 'targeting' of professors Lal, Kant

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) has come out in support of professors Ratan Lal from Delhi University and Ravi Kant from Lucknow University, whom they said were being targeted for critiquing “majoritarian positions” in public. 

While Lal, an associate professor of history, was arrested for an allegedly objectionable Facebook post referring to claims of a Shivling being found in the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, Kant has an FIR registered against him for making allegedly objectionable statements about the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Lal is currently out on bail. 

“JNUTA is outraged by the recent attacks on intellectuals and academic scholars for expressing views critical of majoritarian positions in public. It is to be noted that many of these attacks have been directed at academics from Dalit and minority communities — recent targets include Dr Ravi Kant of Lucknow University, Dr Ratan Lal of Delhi University and Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, former professor JNU,” they said in a statement. Read more

11:22 (IST)24 May 2022
The matter can't be dismissed just like that: Lawyer representing Hindu side in Gyanvapi row

Advocate Madan Mohan Yadav, the lawyer representing the Hindu side, speaking to ANI said that while the Masjid committee has contested that the civil suit in the Gyanvapi mosque case is against the Places of Worship Act, "the matter can't be dismissed just like that, it will sustain. It is not a matter of property but of the right to worship."

"The court will hear the matter at 2 pm today (May 24). The decision will be out probably by 4 pm," he added.

09:09 (IST)24 May 2022
A Letter From Varanasi: ‘It’s our waqt… Ayodhya will happen in Kashi too’

In Varanasi, a city that’s three cities in one, where Kashi, Benaras and Varanasi have ebbed and flowed into each other for centuries, the ‘survey’ is what holds out both promise and fear — the promise, to some, that ‘historical wrongs’ can finally be corrected and the glory of the city restored to match the grandeur of the newly refurbished Kashi Vishwanath temple complex. And the fear that, with that, some more of the old, unvarnished Varanasi could be lost forever — a city whose cramped lanes held countless small temples and mosques and remarkably still had space left for its people.

A dosa stall owner at Assi Ghat says, "Apne itihaas ko janana zaroori hai (It is important to be aware of our history). When the Mughals ruled, they plundered us and destroyed our temples. Now it’s our waqt (time) and Modiji is in power, so we can hope to get back what we lost." Once the court upholds the claims of the Hindu petitioners, the temple will extend into the mosque, he says, extending a warning, “Jo Ayodhya me hua, wahi Kashi me hoga (whatever happened in Ayodhya will happen in Kashi).” Read Lalmani Verma's report here

08:51 (IST)24 May 2022
In Mathura mosque row, judge rules: Places of Worship Act does not bar plea against 1968 ‘compromise'

Underlining that the Places of Worship Act, 1991, does not bar a plea against the 1968 “compromise” agreement between the Shahi Idgah and the Srikrishna Janmabhumi temple, the district judge in Mathura has allowed a plea questioning ownership of the land on which the Idgah is built. 

“With regard to the entire property of Katra Keshav Deo, whether Shri Krishna Janma Bhoomi Seva Sangh had the power to enter into compromise with Trust Masjid Eidgah is a matter of evidence, which can be determined only on the basis of evidence adduced by both parties during the trial,” the court has held. 

District and Sessions Judge Rajiv Bharti had, on May 19, allowed revision of a lower court ruling, which had earlier dismissed pleas by a group of “devotees”, seeking ownership of the Idgah land, and one calling for demolition of the Idgah. Read more

08:31 (IST)24 May 2022
In Opinion | Gyanvapi: Court must follow law not faith

Ashutosh Varshney writes: "Should Aurangzeb’s 17th century misdeeds be avenged by inflicting harm on India’s Muslims today, even if a sizeable section of public opinion has become noticeably anti-Muslim? We can’t answer this question until we turn to the constitutive principles of modern democracy.

Two of the key foundations of modern democracy are popular will and the constitutional settlement. The attempt to reclaim the mosque for Hindu religious purposes belongs to the former realm. But the attempted reclamation flatly contradicts the Constitution.

If legislatures are the institutional embodiment of popular will, the courts play the same role for safeguarding the Constitution." Read more

08:01 (IST)24 May 2022
Tempered by power, BJP’s shift away from 1989 Palampur Resolution on temple rows

With the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque and Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid disputes back in the spotlight, the BJP’s Palampur Resolution has also made a return to the political discourse. The ruling party appears to have made a shift away from its stand on temple-mosque disputes as mentioned in the political resolution adopted at its National Executive meeting held from June 9-11, 1989, in the hill station in Himachal Pradesh.

The Palampur declaration is considered to be the most vigorous form of religiosity among the BJP’s political documents and with it Hindutva was officially added to the party’s doctrine. The party also rejected court orders that did not back its claims on the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site, saying, “The nature of this controversy is such that it just cannot be sorted out by a court of law.”

However, as a saffron party leader put it, the new BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not want to enter into yet another temple campaign but solely relies on the judiciary to give a green signal to correct “historical errors” and restore to Hindus their most holy places of worship. Read Liz Mathew's report here

07:54 (IST)24 May 2022
Varanasi court to decide course of action today: What have the two sides contested?

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.

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.' Read more

15:36 (IST)23 May 2022
Varanasi court to decide on petitions for hearings tomorrow

The Varanasi district court, hearing the civil suit on the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Viswanath temple complex dispute, will on Tuesday deliver order on whether to invite objections on commissioner survey report of Gyanvapi mosque or conduct hearing on Order 7 Rule 11 application of the Masjid committee first. The Hindus wanted the objections to be heard while Muslims wanted the O7R11 to be decided, the Bar & Bench reported.

14:57 (IST)23 May 2022
Gyanvapi case: Court to decide which application would be heard

Arguments in Gyanvapi mosque case conclude. The hearing was to decipher the way ahead and how would the hearing in this case be conducted. The Court will decide which application would be heard first as there are many applications before it, Bar & Bench reported.

14:55 (IST)23 May 2022
Arguments commences in Varanasi district court

Arguments commenced. The Court commisioner Vishal Singh along with his other team members have been asked to report to the court of Varanasi district judge.

14:23 (IST)23 May 2022
Hindu devotees refer British era govt stand taken in 1936 suit over Gyanvapi mosque dispute

Hindu women plaintiffs who have filed a civil suit before Varanasi court seeking declaration and asserting the right to Darshan and worship Hindu deities whose idols are located on an outer wall of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi has referred to stand taken by the British government in a 1936 suit seeking it to be declared as Waqf property.

In an affidavit filed through advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, three of the five women devotees said that in 1936 one Deen Mohammed has filed a civil suit without impleading any member of the Hindu community but impleading only the Secretary of State for India through District Magistrate, Benares and Anjuman Intajamia Masajid, Benares for granting declaration that the land bearing situated in the city measuring (1 Bigha 9 Biswa and 6 Dhurs) together with enclosure all-around described in the plaint was Waqf in possession of that plaintiff (Mohammed).

The affidavit has been filed in response to the plea of the Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masjid which manages Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi seeking quashing of the recent survey of the mosque.

The affidavit said that the 1936 suit said that Muslims had the right to say their prayers especially ‘Alvida' prayers and to exercise other religious and legal rights as the need and occasion arise. (PTI)

13:44 (IST)23 May 2022
Amid Gyanvapi row, MNS claims 2 dargahs in Pune built on temple land

Amid the Gyanvapi mosque row, the MNS has claimed that two dargahs had been built on the Punyeshwar temple land in Maharashtra's Pune city.

MNS general secretary Ajay Shinde said they have launched the 'Punyeshwar Mukti' (free the temple land) campaign, and appealed to people to support the Raj Thackeray-led party's fight in restoring the temple land.

Citing a recent survey of the Gyanvapi mosque, Shinde said government has started waking up in the wake of Raj Thackeray's stand on Hindutva. "Like Gyanvapi, we are also fighting for the Punyeshwar temple in Pune," he said.

Shinde claimed that a commader of Khilji dynasty ruler Alauddin Khilji had demolished the Punyeshwar and Narayaneshwar temples in Pune and later dargahs were built on the land. (PTI)

13:09 (IST)23 May 2022
What is the Places of Worship Act?

The principal contention of the Committee of Management of Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, the organisation that filed the appeal against a Varanasi court decision to conduct a survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque complex, is that the order of the court — which was upheld by Allahabad High Court on April 21 — is “clearly interdicted” by The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.

What is the Places of Worship Act, and what are its provisions?

The long title describes it as “An Act to prohibit conversion of any place of worship and to provide for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on the 15th day of August, 1947, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”

Section 3 of the Act bars the conversion, in full or part, of a place of worship of any religious denomination into a place of worship of a different religious denomination — or even a different segment of the same religious denomination. Read more

12:16 (IST)23 May 2022
Opinion | At stake in Gyanvapi, the hopes of a civilisation

Nandi’s eternal wait at Gyanvapi is symbolic of the sorrow, perseverance and hope of a civilisation. The hope is not only for the restoration of deities to their rightful places and the rebirth of temples but also for an end to the denialism and delusion that has plagued the Indian polity for too long.

Kashi is an open and shut case like Mathura and many other places. There is no real controversy over the fact that these mosques were built after the destruction of the temples by medieval Islamic warlords. The only “controversy” is the manufactured political rhetoric, academic obfuscation and chicanery joined by Islamist religious supremacism. Read more

11:05 (IST)23 May 2022
Varanasi district court judge to hear Gyanvapi civil suit today

The Varanasi district court of judge Ajaya Krishna Vishvesha on Monday will hear the civil suit on the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Viswanath temple complex dispute after the Supreme Court on Friday ordered the transfer of the pending proceedings to the District Judge, Varanasi, for “trial and all interlocutory and ancillary proceedings”.

Underlining the “complexity of the issues involved in the civil suit” earlier pending before the Civil Judge (Senior Division), Varanasi, the Supreme Court on Friday had said that the suit “should be tried before a senior and experienced judicial officer of the Uttar Pradesh Higher Judicial Service”.

Police personnel stand guard during the hearing of the Gyanvapi Masjid-Shringar Gauri Temple case, outside the Varanasi District Court, Monday, May 23, 2022. (PTI Photo)

Finding religious nature not barred by 1991 law: Supreme Court

Underlining the “complexity of the issues involved in the civil suit” pending before the Civil Judge (Senior Division), Varanasi, on the Gyanvapi dispute “and their sensitivity”, the Supreme Court Friday ordered transfer of the pending proceedings to the District Judge, Varanasi, for “trial and all interlocutory and ancillary proceedings”. It said the suit “should be tried before a senior and experienced judicial officer of the Uttar Pradesh Higher Judicial Service”.

Responding to the argument of Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi — he appeared for the Committee of Management of Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, Varanasi — that the process initiated by the Varanasi court was in violation of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, the bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Surya Kant and P S Narasimha, also said that “ascertainment of the religious character of a place is not barred by… the Act”.

Also Read:

Abhinav Prakash Singh writes: At stake in Gyanvapi, the hopes of a civilisation

Ashutosh Varshney writes: Gyanvapi: Court must follow law not faith

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