Gyanvapi Mosque: Allahabad HC Stays Varanasi Court’s ASI Survey Order
The Allahabad HC also stayed all proceedings in the lower court in the Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi mosque case.
"The Allahabad High Court on Thursday, 9 September, stayed an order by a Varanasi lower court that had asked the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a survey to determine whether the Gyanvapi Mosque, located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, was built on the ruins of an older temple.
The high court made strong observations about the lower court’s order, saying that it should not have proceeded considering that the verdict in the petitions were pending before the high court.
The Varanasi court had asked ASI to carry out the survey based on a 2019 plea by a city lawyer, which was appended to a 1991 case filed by the Temple's Trust contending that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb had demolished an ancient Lord Vishweshwar temple in 1664 and "constructed a mosque with the help of the ruins of the said temple".
Though the high court had reserved its order on the matter in March this year, the proceedings in the Varanasi court had not been stopped.
The high court on Thursday, also stayed all proceedings in the lower court, saying, “The court below has full knowledge to the fact that judgment has already been reserved on 15 March 2021. In this view it should not have proceeded and decided on the application filed by the plaintiffs in the original suit for a survey by Archaeological Survey of India", LiveLaw reported.
The Bench of Justice Prakash Padia was quoted as saying, "Judicial courtesy and decorum warranted such discipline, which was expected from the court below. But for unfathomable reasons, neither of the courses was taken."
The Waqf Board and the Gyanvapi Mosque Trust had challenged the Varanasi court order in the Allahabad High Court.
Waqf Board Chairman Zufar Ahmad Farooqui said, "Our understanding is clear that this case is barred by the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. The Places of Worship Act was upheld by a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya judgment."
Moreover, he added, "no evidence has been produced before the court that suggests that there was a prior existing temple at the site of the mosque", NDTV reported.
(With inputs from LiveLaw and NDTV)
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