The advocate commissioner of a panel formed to conduct a video survey of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi acted in an “extremely irresponsible manner, a civil court observed on Tuesday, according to The Hindu.

The court had removed the advocate commissioner, Ajay Kumar Mishra, from his post on Tuesday.

Commission members Assistant Advocate Commissioner Ajay Pratap Singh and Special Advocate Commissioner Vishal Singh said that Mishra, who was appointed on April 8 as the advocate commissioner, was not cooperating. Last week, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, the caretakers of the mosque, had also accused Mishra of acting in a biased manner and demanded his removal.

Vishal Singh claimed that the videographer hired by Mishra had been speaking to the media and spreading rumours, NDTV reported. Vishal Singh has now been appointed as the advocate commissioner.

The Varanasi court on Tuesday said that when a lawyer is appointed as an advocate commissioner, it is expected that the person would carry out proceedings with neutrality and honesty, and refrain from making irresponsible public statements.

“When any advocate is appointed as an advocate commissioner and does commission work, then he is as good as a public servant,” Civil Judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar said in his order.

Meanwhile, Mishra on Tuesday claimed that his hired cameraperson had cheated him by leaking information to the media, NDTV reported. He added that he had done nothing wrong.

“I was betrayed by Vishal Singh,” he said. “He took advantage of my trusting nature.”

Five women petitioners have sought permission to offer daily prayers and observe other Hindu rituals at the back of the western wall of the Gyanvapi mosque. They have claimed that an image of the Hindu deity Shringar Gauri exists at the site.

A court-appointed surveyor reported that an oval object had been found in the tank of the Muslim place of worship. Hindu petitioners claimed it is a Shivling, a symbolic representation of Hindu deity Shiva. Muslims, however, say that the object is actually a fountain.

The court had directed the district administration to seal the spot in the mosque complex and said no person should be allowed to enter the place. The development took place even before the commission had submitted its report.

The new advocate commissioner, Vishal Singh, will present the survey report before the court on Thursday.