Varanasi district court to decide on maintainability on May 26


The Hindu

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Gyanvapi case | Varanasi district court to decide on maintainability on May 26

A district court on Tuesday fixed May 26 for hearing on the maintainability of the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex case. The court of District Judge A.K. Vishevesh will hear the matter as per directions of the Supreme Court, District Government Counsel Rana Sanjeev Singh said.

Singh said the court also gave a week’s time to both Hindu and Muslim sides to file objections to the report of a court-mandated videography survey of the Gyanvapi mosque premises.

Vishnu Shankar Jain, a lawyer for the Hindu side, said the civil judge listed for May 26 the hearing on a plea of the Muslim side, which said the suit doesn’t have merit as it violates the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.
Policemen stand guard outside the Varanasi District Court during the hearing on the Gyanvapi Masjid-Shringar Gauri Temple case on May 24, 2022.

Section 4 of the Act 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. Jain said the court ordered to make available the commission report to both sides for filing objections.

Meanwhile, a fresh application was filed in the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, seeking permission to worship the “Shivling” claimed to have been found in the Gyanvapi complex during the videography survey. The plea, filed on behalf of the Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh, also sought a ban on the entry of Muslims to the complex.

Sangh’s president Jitendra Singh Bisen said the writ has been filed by his wife Kiran Singh and organisation’s general secretary. Bisen said the court has admitted the writ and on their request agreed to conduct a hearing Wednesday on the third aspect--permission to offer prayers at Shivling.

A court order also confirmed that the matter has been listed for Wednesday. A similar petition was moved by Dr. Kulpati Tiwari, Mahant of the Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath temple, on Monday for regular “pujan” (worship) of the Shivling.

The apex court had on Friday transferred the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex case from a civil judge (senior division) to a district judge, saying looking at the “complexities” and “sensitivity” of the issue, it is better if a senior judicial officer having an experience of over 25-30 years handles this case.

The district judge court had on the previous day reserved its order on which prayer should be heard first. The Hindu side argued that since a court-appointed commission has completed its survey work, the opponents should present their objections to it.

Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee’s lawyer Mohammad Tauhid Khan had argued that the writ is not maintainable under Order 7 and Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code, hence, it should be dismissed.

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