A district court in Varanasi on Wednesday reserved its order on a petition by the Gyanvapi mosque committee questioning the right of Hindu litigants to file a case in the matter, PTI reported.
The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which manages the Gyanvapi mosque, on Wednesday concluded its arguments in response to the contentions raised by the Hindu litigants. District judge AK Vishvesha reserved the order on the committee’s petition challenging the maintainability of the civil suit. The order has been reserved till September 12.
The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee has filed the 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 petitioners have argued that the petition filed by the Hindu side is not maintainable as it violates the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, which prohibits changing the status quo of religious sites.
Raees Ahmed, a member of the mosque committee’s legal team, said that further proceedings in the case will depend on the district court’s verdict on the maintainability of the suit, according to The Hindu.
“If the suit is found maintainable, then the court will take up the video survey of the mosque and the issues surrounding it,” Ahmed said.
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 objections expressed by Muslim litigants. The mosque committee had then moved the Supreme Court challenging the trial court’s order to conduct the survey.
The survey report 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 the Hindu deity Shiva. Muslims, however, say that it is actually a fountain.
A day later, the Supreme Court directed officials to protect the spot where the oval object was found. It also said that Muslims should not be restricted from offering prayers at the mosque.
On July 21, the Supreme Court said that it would wait for the district judge’s verdict on the maintainability of the petition, and adjourned the case till the first week of October.