Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi case: SC extends protection of ‘Shivling’ area till further orders

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice Surya Kant and Justice PS Narasimha extended the interim order until further orders.

Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar, who appeared for the Hindu plaintiffs, submitted that the SLP filed by the Masjid committee has become “infructuous”. “The challenge was about the order appointing Advocate Commissidner. My friends(Masjid side) have been participating before the Advocate Commissioner”, he said, Live Law reported.

Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, who appeared for the Masjid Committee, submitted that the application had been filed by the plaintiffs with “incorrect averments” that the defendants have been participating in the Commission proceedings. According to Live Law, Ahmadi said, “I need to get instructions on this. Prime facie to say it is infructuous is not correct because the order appointing Commission was challenged. There is no question of acquiescence. I filed an SLP challenging the order appointing Advocate Commissioner.”

The apex court allowed Hindu parties to move an application before the Varanasi district judge for consolidation of the lawsuit on Gyanvapi row, news agency PTI reported. Th court also asked Hindu parties to reply in 3 weeks to the plea of the Gyanvapi mosque committee challenging the Allahabad HC order on the appointment of a survey commissioner.

Hearing a petition by five Hindu women seeking the right to worship at Maa Shringar Gauri Sthal, on the outer wall of the mosque complex, a Varanasi court had on April 8 appointed an Advocate Commissioner to carry out an inspection of the site, to “prepare videography of the action”, and submit a report.

The mosque committee had challenged this before the Allahabad High Court, which dismissed the appeal on April 21. The committee then approached the Supreme Court.

Hearing it in May this year, the SC, however, said that “ascertainment of the religious character of a place is not barred by… the Act” and declined to stay proceedings before the Varanasi court. It asked the district magistrate to secure the area where the ‘Shivling’ was claimed to have been found, without impeding or restricting the rights of Muslims to access and offer namaz at the mosque.

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