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Supreme Court revives Gyanvapi panel plea, explains ASI survey stay

While granting the stay on the interim plea, the Supreme Court accidentally disposed of the main case on July 24

Varanasi: Security personnel keep vigil during the Friday prayers, outside Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi, Friday, May 27, 2022. (PTI Photo)(

BS Web Team New Delhi

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The Supreme Court (SC) has revived a plea from the Gyanvapi panel that was mistakenly disposed of on July 24, as reported by PTI. The court stayed an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) survey on the Gyanvapi mosque premises to determine if it was built upon a temple.
 
The plea, presented by the Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia of the Gyanvapi mosque, was unintentionally disposed of during the last hearing, instead of the interim plea that sought to halt the ASI's work.
 
Earlier, on July 24, the SC had ordered the ASI to pause its "detailed scientific survey" until 5 pm Wednesday to assess if the mosque, located near the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, was constructed over a temple.
 
The Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, representing the Uttar Pradesh government and ASI, had no objections to the revival of the mosque committee's special leave petition.
 
The main plea from the mosque committee seeks the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the Hindu party in the Varanasi district court under Order 7 Rule 11(c) of the Civil Procedure Code, claiming that the paper used for filing the lawsuit was not duly "stamped and authorised."
 
An interim plea was also filed by the mosque committee, seeking to halt the ASI's work due to the authorities' hurry in proceeding with the survey without granting sufficient time for an appeal.
 
Tushar Mehta clarified the error, stating that what was disposed of was the special leave petition instead of the interim application. The court rectified the mistake, deleted paragraph 10 from the July 24 order, and revived the plea.
 
The SC directed the Allahabad High Court (HC) to hear the appeal from the Gyanvapi mosque before the "status quo" order expires on Wednesday evening.
 
Previously, a Varanasi court had instructed the ASI to conduct the survey, including excavations if necessary, to determine if the mosque was built on the site of an earlier temple.
 
The Allahabad HC also resumed hearing a plea against the district court's order directing the ASI to conduct the survey. The high court had started the hearing on Tuesday when the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, the mosque's managing committee, moved the court.
 
 
What is Gyanvapi case?
The case revolves around the religious significance of Gyanvapi mosque located in Varanasi. In 1991, local priests claimed that the mosque had originally been a part of the Kashi Vishwanath temple that was demolished by Aurangzeb in the mid-1600s. The subsequentially filed a petition seeking permission to worship within the mosque. 
This was reignited in 2022, when four Hindu women filed a caveat in the HC seeking all year-round worshipping rights in the Gyanvapi Mosque compound. 
The District Court on July 21, 2023 Varanasi Court allowed the scientific survey of the entire Gyanvapi mosque premises (except for Wuzukhana) by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to determine whether the mosque was occupying the temple.
 

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First Published: Jul 26 2023 | 2:08 PM IST

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