Supreme Court refuses to halt Gyanvapi mosque survey
"We do not even know what the matter is. I do not know anything. How can I pass an order? I will read and then pass orders. Let me see," the CJI told Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi
A day after the Varanasi civil court refused to stop the survey work at the Gyanvapi Mosque, the Supreme Court rejected a plea to immediately stop the survey work. Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said that the matter would have to be considered in due course.
Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi had mentioned the matter before the CJI, seeking urgent intervention and pleading for a status quo in the case pending before the Varanasi civil court. Ahmadi was appearing for Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, which manages the Gyanvapi mosque.
Stating that the mosque has existed since time immemorial, Ahmadi submitted that the Varanasi court had directed a survey to be conducted inside the mosque despite it coming under the Places of Worship Act.
However, the CJI Ramana informed the advocate that he had not yet seen the court papers. "We do not even know what the matter is. I do not know anything. How can I pass an order? I will read and then pass orders. Let me see," the CJI said.
On Thursday, the Varanasi civil court rejected the plea filed by the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee seeking to remove the advocate commissioner on the grounds of bias. While doing so, the court further said that the full survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque complex will go on. The court also said that an additional advocate commissioner will be appointed to facilitate the survey work.
The survey is intended to collect evidence regarding the alleged existence of Hindu deities inside the mosque premises which is next to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
The order to carry out the survey came on the basis of the plea filed by five Hindu women who sought all-year access to a shrine situated behind the western wall of the mosque. Till now, access to the shrine was limited to once a year. The women had also sought permission to offer prayers to other 'visible and invisible' deities within the old temple complex.
The civil judge, in his order, clarified that the advocate commissioners have the authority to collect evidence from any part of the mosque complex and that the district administration had to ensure that no hindrance shall be caused by anyone in the conduct of this exercise.