Varanasi Court: The suit filed by 5 Hindu women seeking worshipping rights in the Gyanvapi compound is ‘MAINTAINABLE’, a plea by the Muslim side rejected.
The Gyanvaapi mosque, located in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency (Varanasi), is one of the several mosques that Hindus believe were built on the ruins of temples.
The local court [presided over by Varanasi civil judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar] had earlier appointed a survey commission to submit a report by visiting the mosque. A suit was filed by five Hindu women (plaintiffs) seeking worshipping rights in the Gyanvapi Mosque compound in the Supreme Court. The apex court transferred the dispute to the District Court in Varanasi.
Petition by Masjid committee
Meanwhile, the Masjid Committee petitioned the Supreme Court, disputing the Varanasi court’s survey ruling.
Hearing the petition on May 17, the Supreme Court clarified that the order issued by the Civil Judge Senior Division in Varanasi to protect the location where a “shiv ling” was claimed to have been discovered during the survey of the Gyanvapi mosque will not limit Muslims’ access to the mosque to offer namaz and perform religious observances.
On May 19, the Court got the survey report. However, even before the survey report was submitted, the court ordered the sealing of the area based on a claim made by the court-appointed Advocate Commissioner that it had discovered Shiva Linga inside the Gyanvapi Mosque grounds during the inspection.
The Anjuman Committee (which oversees the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi) had opposed the litigation’s legality, claiming that the Hindu Worshippers’ complaint was banned by law (Places of Worship Act, 1991). The Anjuman Islamia Masjid committee’s plea (filed under Ruling 7 Rule 11 CPC) contesting the maintainability of District Judge A. K. Vishveshva’s order, rules that the suit brought by Hindu Worshippers is not precluded by the Places of Worship Act or the Waqf Act, was dismissed today by Varanasi Court. The Hindu devotees’ claim will now be considered again by the Court.
Prayer sought by Hindus
The plaintiffs (Hindu women worshippers) have essentially asked for the right to worship Maa Shringar Gauri on the exterior wall of the mosque complex, which is adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath temple. District Judge A. K. Vishvesha closed the hearing and reserved its ruling last month after hearing the parties extensively.
According to the plaintiffs, the current mosque site was formerly a Hindu temple that was razed by Mughal Ruler Aurangzeb and replaced with the current mosque edifice.
The Hindu Samrajya Parishad had officially recognized the reported finding of a ‘Shivling’ within the mosque grounds and began worshipping it, holding a religious ceremony in Lucknow to commemorate the occasion. The Hindus were outraged to discover that the supposed “shivling” within the mosque had been confined to Hindu worshippers. The Lord had arrived within the mosque in the guise of a ‘Shivling,’ but no one would be able to worship it until the courts resolved the case.
About the advocates representing Hindu petitioners (father and son duo)
The Hindu side’s lawyers are Hari Shankar Jain and Vishnu Shankar Jain. Hari Shankar Jain began practicing law in Lucknow in 1976 and then moved to New Delhi. In 1993, he rose to stardom. In the Babri case, he obtained a court ruling allowing Hindus to enter the Babri Masjid. This was a watershed moment in his career. Devotees were denied the ‘darshan’ of Ram Lalla after the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.
Hari Shankar Jain won the legal struggle before the Allahabad High Court. Vishnu Shankar Jain, his son, was also aiding his father at the moment. The case, which began in 1993, was resolved by the Supreme Court in 2019. Hari Shankar Jain fought the 2001 elections against Congress President Sonia Gandhi from Amethi and also launched a lawsuit against her in court for not being an Indian citizen, which began in 1993 and ended in 2019.