The Supreme Court will hear the Gyanvapi mosque case on Friday, PTI reported. The hearing will take place a day before its interim order, to seal the spot where Hindu litigants claimed to have found a “shivling”, will cease to be effective.

On May 17, the Supreme Court had directed that the spot be protected, but that Muslims should not be restricted from offering prayers. The oval-shaped object, said to be an idol representing the Hindu deity Shiva, was found during a survey earlier in May ordered by a Varanasi court.

However, the lawyer of the mosque management committee claimed that the object is not a shivling, but a part of a stone fountain in the mosque’s wazu khana, or ablution tank.

The case pertains to a plea filed by five women petitioners who claimed that an image of the Hindu deity Shringar Gauri exists at the back of the western wall of the mosque. They have demanded that they be allowed to offer daily prayers and observe other Hindu rituals at the site.

On May 12, a Varanasi court had allowed a survey commission to carry out videography inside the mosque, located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple. The court had directed the commission to submit a report on the survey on May 17. However, it passed an order to seal part of the mosque even before receiving the report of the survey.

The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which manages the mosque, had then moved the Supreme Court, challenging the Varanasi court’s order.