The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday stayed the scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque premises till tomorrow, reported Live Law.
The survey was ordered by a Varanasi court on a petition by a group of Hindu litigants seeking the right to hold prayers inside the mosque compound. However, the Supreme Court on Monday stayed the order and directed the Archeological Survey of India to maintain status quo till 5 pm on Wednesday.
Following this, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, the caretaker of the mosque, moved the High Court against the Varanasi court order.
Early during Wednesday’s hearing, the Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker of the Allahabad High Court said that neither the Varanasi court’s order nor the application filed by the Hindu litigants mentions how the excavation was to be carried out, according to Live Law.
Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, representing the Hindu litigants, said that he was making a statement on record that no damage will be caused to the structure and that no work would be carried out in the area sealed as per the Supreme Court’s order.
Senior counsel SFA Naqvi, representing the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, said that as per the Hindu litigants’ application, excavation was proposed to be done under three domes.
Later in the evening, an official from the Archeological Survey of India appeared before the court, and informed it that the authority proposed to carry out the survey through radar imaging. The officer said that the authority can try to complete the survey by July 31.
Naqvi, however, argued that the Archeological Survey was not party to the proceedings before the court. To this, Chief Justice Diwaker said: “Hypothetically, even if we feel that anything wrong can be done by the state or the ASI, the court can always stop them.”
The court will now continue its hearing on the matter at 3.30 pm on Thursday.
SC revives Gyanvapi panel’s petition
The Supreme Court on Wednesday revived a petition by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee that it had inadvertently disposed off on July 24, PTI reported. The appeal questions maintainability of the suit by Hindus in trial court seeking worship rights inside the mosque.
The court had done so while staying the survey to be conducted by the Archeological Survey of India.
Advocate Huzefa Ahmedi, representing the committee, told the bench that it had disposed of the main petition in the case instead of an interim plea that had demanded that the Archeological Survey of India’s work be stopped.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Uttar Pradesh government and the Archeological Survey, said he had no objection to the main petition being revived.
“Solicitor General Tushar Mehta... states that what has been disposed of is the SLP [special leave petition] instead of the interim application,” the court said in its order on Wednesday. “The inadvertent error has been rectified. The paragraph 10 [of the order from July 24] shall be deleted.”