The Supreme Court on Thursday said that it will await the decision of the Varanasi district judge on a petition by the Gyanvapi mosque committee questioning the right of Hindu litigants to file a case in the matter, PTI reported.
A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud adjourned the case till the first week of October.
The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which manages the mosque, has filed an application under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure before the Varanasi district judge. According to the order, a petition can be dismissed if it does not show a cause of action or is barred by law.
The Gyanvapi case pertains to a petition filed by five Hindu women who have claimed that an image of the Hindu deity Shringar Gauri exists at the mosque and have sought permission to offer daily prayers there.
The mosque is located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi.
In May, a Varanasi civil court had ordered a video survey of the Gyanvapi mosque despite the Muslim litigants’ objection to it. The mosque committee then moved the Supreme Court challenging the trial court’s order to conduct the survey.
The survey report had stated that an oval object had been found inside a tank at the mosque. Hindu petitioners claimed the object is a shivling, a symbolic representation of Hindu deity Shiva. Muslims, however, say that it is actually a fountain.
Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing the mosque committee, on Thursday contended before the Supreme Court that the civil court passed the order ordering a survey at the site without jurisdiction, Live Law reported.
“Kindly see what the commission report has led to,” Ahmadi said. “The [Allahabad] High Court says it is innocuous. But now the entire area has been sealed. A status quo existing for several years has been altered. It has effectively changed the character of a place of worship.”
The lawyer also said that the Varanasi civil court had ordered the survey without allowing the mosque committee to file its objections.
A day later, the Supreme Court directed officials to protect the spot where the said shivling was found. It also said that Muslims should not be restricted from offering prayers at the mosque.
On May 20, the Supreme Court ordered to transfer the proceedings from the trial court to the court of the district judge in Varanasi. The Supreme Court said that the civil suit case was sensitive and should be heard by a senior and experienced judicial officer.
The case is still being heard at the Varanasi district court.