The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday directed its registry to place two separate petitions related to the decades-old Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque dispute of Varanasi before an appropriate bench. The order was passed by Justice Sangeeta Chandra on petitions filed by Anjuman Intazamia Masjid, Varanasi and Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Board of Waqfs, Lucknow. The Anjuman Intazamia Masjid had moved the court challenging orders passed by Additional Districts Judge, Varanasi, in 1997 and 1998 whereby its application challenging a civil suit filed by the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir Trust had been turned down.
The Trust had filed the suit in 1991 claiming that a temple was constructed by Maharaja Vikramaditya more than 2,000 years ago on the site, where the mosque had been later erected. Alleging that the temple was demolished by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1664 and a mosque constructed on a part of the land with the remains of the razed place of worship, the Trust has sought removal of the Gyanvapi Masjid from the site and possession of the entire piece of land.
In its application before ADJ Varanasi, the Anjuman Intazamia Masjid had contended that a “Mandir-Masjid dispute” could not be adjudicated by a civil court as it was “barred by law” and demanded that the trust’s petition be dismissed at the outset. However, the lower court dismissed the application.
The Sunni Waqf Board had moved the court challenging the ADJ Varanasi’s orders turning down its request for being made a party to the civil suit. Initially, both parties had challenged the lower court orders filing petitions under Article 226 (power of High Courts to issue certain writs) of the Constitution.
Upon the High Court’s advice, Anjuman Intazamia Masjid today filed an amendment application under Article 227 dealing with power of superintendence over all courts by the High Court, which was allowed. The Sunni Waqf Board could not come up with the same and, hence, was granted one week’s time. Justice Chandra directed that the petitions be placed before the bench having the requisite jurisdiction.