moments ago Anjumane Intejamia Masjid Committeewhich oversees 22 mosques, including the Gnanavapi Masjid in Varanasi, challenged the district court’s order on July 21 in the Allahabad High Court for the ASI survey of mosque premises (except for ujukhana). 4 Hindu women worshipers filed a warning in the High Court.
Caveat, filed by Lakshmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak, In the 2022 case, 4 of the 5 women plaintiffs sought the right to worship year-round in the Gnanabapi Masjid premises, praying that the High Court should not pass any order on a revision petition/Section 227 petition (if filed by the Anjuman Masjid Committee) without hearing them.
The caveat was filed through lawyers Hari Shankar Jain, Prabash Pandey and Vishnu Shankar Jain.
It is important to note that the Varanasi court’s July 21 order for an ASI survey of the mosque premises was passed on a petition moved by these 4 Hindu women worshippers.
A detailed report on the Varanasi court order can be read here: Gnanabapi | ‘Conduct detailed scientific survey to find out whether mosque is built on pre-existing Hindu temple’: Varanasi court to ASI
One of the 5 women plaintiffs, Rakhi Singh, separately filed a caveat petition in the case in the Allahabad High Court. Advocate Sourav Tiwari.
Importantly, the Anjuman Masjid Committee’s plea to the High Court was filed a day after the Supreme Court on Monday directed that the Varanasi court’s order should not be enforced till 5 pm on July 26 to give some “breathing time” to the Masjid Committee to approach the High Court.
It may be noted that a bench of the Supreme Court passed an order on July 24. Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Manoj Mishra While requesting the Chief Justice of the High Court to allow the mosque’s petition to be heard before the interim order expires on July 26.
Context of the matter
On 21 July, the Varanasi District Court allowed a petition filed by 4 Hindu women worshipers to conduct a scientific survey of the entire Gnanabapi Masjid premises (except the Uzukhana) by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to determine whether the mosque was built on a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple.
District Judge AK Visveshar’s court passed this order in May this year (under Section 75(e) CPC and Order 26 Rule 10A) on a petition moved by 4 Hindu women worshipers in a case pending before the court (Rakhi Singh and others v. State of UP and others) to seek the right of worship throughout the year in the Gnanabapi Masjid premises.
In the petition, four women worshipers demanded that a scientific survey of the entire mosque premises would help prove the facts mentioned in their complaint. It was also proved that the survey would help the court to arrive at a logical conclusion based on the material and reports collected by the fact-finding expert agency.
In its 7-page order, the court observed that the survey would help in “fair and proper disposal of the case” and the “true facts” would come before the court.
The court called for the report by August 4 and posted it for further proceedings on the same day.
Earlier, the Allahabad High Court had, on May 12, directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a scientific survey (using modern techniques) of the ‘Shiva Linga’ allegedly found in the premises of the Gnanabapi Mosque in Varanasi to determine its age.
The order came while a bench of Justice Arvind Kumar Mishra allowed a review petition filed by 4 female Hindu worshipers challenging the Varanasi court’s October 14 order in which the court dismissed their petition.
The High Court directed that the proceedings should be conducted under the supervision of the Varanasi District Judge. The concerned authorities of ASI were directed to appear before the judicial magistrate on May 22 seeking appropriate directions for scientific investigation of the structure.
In a challenge by the mosque committee, the Supreme Court, on May 19, ordered the stay of the scientific investigation inside the Varanasi Gnanabapi Mosque.