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Gyanvapi mosque: Supreme Court agrees to hear plea; refuses to quash interim video survey

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana was told by senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the Muslim side in the Gyanvapi mosque case, that a plea has been filed against the survey being conducted at the Varanasi site

Agencies | Updated on: Friday, May 13, 2022, 11:47 AM IST

Supreme Court of India | PTI
Supreme Court of India | PTI
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant an interim order of status quo on the survey of the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

The top court, however, agreed to consider listing the plea of a Muslim party against the survey of the Gyanvapi premises.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana was told by senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the Muslim side in the Gyanvapi mosque case, that a plea has been filed against the survey being conducted at the Varanasi site.

"Let me see," the CJI said on urgent listing of the plea.

"We have filed in relation to a survey which has been directed to be conducted in relation to the Varanasi property. This (Gyanvapi) has been a mosque since time immemorial and this is clearly interdicted by the Places of Worship Act," Ahmadi said.

He said the direction to conduct a survey has been passed and an order of status quo be passed at the moment.

"I do not know anything. How can I pass such an order? I will read. Let me see," the CJI said.

A Varanasi local court on Thursday rejected a plea to replace the advocate commissioner it had appointed for conducting a videography survey of the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex here and ordered the completion of the task by May 17.

The district court also appointed two more lawyers to help the advocate commissioner carry out the survey at the mosque, which is located close to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple. It ordered the police to register FIRs if there are attempts to scuttle the exercise.

Earlier, All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Thursday termed the Gyanvapi Masjid verdict a "blatant violation" of the Places of Worship Act 1991.

As per the Act, "no person shall convert any place of worship of any religious denomination or any section thereof into a place of worship of a different section of the same religious denomination or of a different religious denomination or any section thereof."

Owaisi's remarks came after a Varanasi court while hearing the matter on Thursday afternoon said that the survey inside the Gyanvapi mosque located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple will continue and the report needs to be submitted by May 17. The court in Varanasi also added two advocates to the survey commission.

He said that the court's decision is also a violation of the Supreme Court judgment given in the Babri Masjid title dispute.

"The order of the court is a blatant violation of the Places of Worship Act 1991. It is a violation of Supreme Court judgment given in the Babri Masjid title dispute," Mr Owaisi told ANI.

Further, Mr Owaisi asserted that he does not want to lose another masjid, after Babri Masjid.

"This is a blatant violation and I hope that the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and the Masjid committee would go to the Supreme Court. I have lost one Babri Masjid and I don't want to lose another masjid," he stated.

He also suggested that the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government should immediately file an FIR against those people who tries to change the nature of religious places.

"Yogi government should immediately file an FIR against these people as the 1991 Act clearly says that any person who tries to change the nature of religious places that stood on August 15, 1947. If courts find them guilty, they can be imprisoned for three years," he added.

(with inputs from agencies)

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Published on: Friday, May 13, 2022, 11:47 AM IST