The Allahabad High Court on Thursday put a stay on an order passed by a lower court in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi city in April, allowing an archaeological survey of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Gyanvapi Mosque complex, Bar and Bench reported.
Justice Prakash Padia said that the court in Varanasi should not have decided on the matter since certain petitions related to the case were pending before the High Court, Live Law reported.
The judge stopped all proceedings before the lower court.
Padia said that the lower court was also completely aware that the Allahabad High Court had reserved its order in the case in March, NDTV reported.
“In this view, it [the court in Varanasi] 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,” the High Court said.
The court in Varanasi had asked the Archaeological Survey of India to review the complex after a lawyer filed a plea.
The petitioner, VS Rastogi, claimed that Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb had demolished a portion of the 2,000-year-old Kashi Vishwanath temple in 1664 to build the mosque.
Rastogi demanded that the land on which the Gyanvapi Mosque has been built should be handed over to Hindus.
On April 13, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board had moved the Allahabad High Court against the Varanasi civil court’s order.
The Waqf board’s lawyer Puneet Kumar Gupta argued that the Varanasi court had passed the order without any jurisdiction as the matter was being heard in the Allahabad High Court.
On April 12, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, the management committee of the Gyanvapi mosque, had also moved the High Court seeking a stay on the civil court’s order.
Meanwhile on Thursday, the Allahabad High Court criticised the way in which the lower court proceeded in the case, NDTV reported.
The judge added: “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 High Court will now hear the case again on October 8, The Hindu reported.