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  4. Gyanvapi Mosque case: Secure Shivling area, allow Muslims to offer namaz, says Supreme Court

Gyanvapi Mosque case: Secure Shivling area, allow Muslims to offer namaz, says Supreme Court

Hearing the matter today, the Supreme Court said, "We will say that if a Shivling is found then the DM will ensure security to the area."

Shashwat Bhandari Written by: Shashwat Bhandari @ShashBhandari New Delhi Updated on: May 17, 2022 23:59 IST
Security personnel guard outside the Gyanvapi mosque after
Image Source : PTI

Security personnel guard outside the Gyanvapi mosque after its survey by a commission, in Varanasi.

Highlights

  • SC asked Varanasi DM to ensure security of area where Shivling has been found
  • Court asked authorities that the process shouldn't affect Muslims offering namaz
  • Varanasi court yesterday ordered to seal the place where Shivling was found in Gyanvapi mosque

Gyanvapi Mosque case: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the District Magistrate in Varanasi to ensure the security of the area where a Shivling has been found during the survey of the mosque. The court has asked authorities that in order to ensure security to the Shivling, shouldn't affect Muslims offering namaz in the mosque. A Varanasi district court on Monday ordered to seal the place where the Shivling was found in the Gyanvapi mosque.

Hearing the matter today, the Supreme Court said, "We will say that if a Shivling is found then the DM will ensure security to the area."

SC issued notice to Hindu petitioners and UP government on plea of Anjuman Intezamia Masajid challenging Varanasi district court order which directed the videographic survey of Gyanvapi Mosque complex, adjacent to Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi. The responses are to be filed by May 19.

It ordered that direction to protect the area where Shivling is reported to be found shall not in any manner restrain or impede access of Muslims to the mosque or use of it for performing prayers and religious observances.

Supreme Court also told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, that it needs assistance from him in certain issues.

The top court also said the trial court directed the DM Varanasi to seal the premises where Shivling was found and entry into the Wazu Khana was restricted adding that it will not be used and only 20 people will be allowed for prayers.

The next hearing in the matter will take place on Thursday, May 19.

SC refuses to stay ongoing proceedings before lower court

“Balancing the equity”, an apex court bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and PS Narasimha, while hearing a plea of the Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masjid which manages Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, passed the order and refused to stay the ongoing proceedings before the lower court.

During the day, the Varanasi court, which had ordered the videography survey of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex, removed Advocate Commissioner Ajay Mishra for displaying "irresponsible behaviour towards the discharge of his duties", while it also granted two more days to the commission to file the survey report.

The removal order by District Civil Judge Ravi Kumar Diwakar came on an application moved by Special Advocate Commissioner Vishal Singh who informed the court that Mishra had "deployed a personal cameraman RP Singh who was giving the wrong byte in the media on a regular basis".

In its order, the civil court said when any advocate is appointed as an advocate commissioner his position is that of a public servant and it is expected of him that he will discharge his duties with honesty and impartiality, and will not issue any irresponsible statement.

The top court which took up the matter at the fag end of the day’s scheduled cases listed for the day said, it needed to balance the rights of contesting parties and clarified that the order of the civil judge (senior division), hearing the plea of petitioner Hindu devotees, directing authorities to ensure the protection of the area would not restrict and impede the rights of Muslim to offer Namaz and to perform religious observances.

“This is an interim arrangement till counsel for the plaintiff is here. We need to balance the rights of contesting parties. The order of May 16, 2022, to the extent that DM, Varanasi shall ensure the protection of area where ‘Shivling’ is said to be found will not impede upon the rights of the Muslims to offer ‘Namaz’ and perform religious observances”, the bench said in its order.

The apex court order came after it was informed by solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the UP government, that the plaintiff’s lawyer Hari Shankar Jain had suffered some cardiac issues and was hospitalized in Varanasi.

Mosque committee presses for 'Wazu'

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the Gyanvapi mosque committee, said the Muslims need to perform ‘wazu’ or ablution as without that ‘namaz’ would have no meaning under Islam.

Mehta, submitted though he is not a party to the civil suit the place where ‘Shivling’ is said to be found is a place where Muslims perform ‘wazu’ and any damage may create a law and order problem.

“They can perform 'wazu' somewhere else if it is necessary but the area where Shivling is said to be found needs protection,” the law officer said.

Ahmadi said that a series of orders, which are unconstitutional, has been passed by the Civil judge and the latest of which was passed on Monday ordering the sealing of the area on an application by Jain in the ex-parte proceedings in which the survey report was yet to be filed.

He said since the top court is now seized of the matter, the entire proceedings before the civil judge needed to be stayed.

The bench, however, refused to stay the further proceedings before the civil judge and said, “any judicial officer would understand the meaning of our orders. We don’t need to stay it.”

The Muslim side has been referring to the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 and its Section 4 which bars filing of any suit or initiating any other legal proceeding for a conversion of the religious character of any place of worship, as existing on August 15, 1947.

(With inputs from PTI)

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