The court asked the petitioner Anjuman Intejamia Masjid to approach the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday and directed the Registrar of the High Court that the appeal be kept for hearing before a competent bench before the expiry of the SC’s status quo order.
WATCH: ASI begins survey amid tight security at Gnanavapi Masjid in Varanasi
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Mishra said, “The district court order was announced at 4.30 pm on July 21 and the survey is going on today, we feel that they should give some breathing time to the petitioners to approach the High Court. We direct that the impugned order of the District Court shall not be executed till 26th July at 5 p.m. It shall not be construed as an expression of opinion on the merits.”
SC gives ‘breathing time’ to mosque management for appeal
The bench ordered the restraint after the ASI refused to promise to stop work on its own. One of the primary reasons for granting the status quo was the refusal of the district judge’s bench to pass an order directing the ASI survey from Monday at 4.30 pm on Friday, which deprived the mosque management committee of an opportunity to appeal for an urgent hearing in the High Court as the next two days – Saturday and Sunday – were holidays.
The judgment of the wise man! Varanasi court allows ASI survey in Gnanavapi Masjid premises
The bench told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the UP government and sought direction from the ASI on the nature of the survey, that the court would not issue a status quo order if the ASI stopped the survey on its own till Friday.
The SG refused to make any such commitment though he assured that the ASI did not intend to carry out any excavation work for at least a week and only site measurements, photography and radar imaging were being carried out.
At 10.45 am, the mosque management committee, through senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, sought an urgent hearing on its plea seeking postponement of the survey. Gnanabapi The mosque, barring the “Uzu” area where an alleged Shiva linga was found and which has been sealed by SC’s order since May 17 last year.
On May 19 this year, the SC stayed the High Court’s May 12 order directing carbon dating of the purported Shivalinga.