New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear on Friday at 3 pm a plea related to the protection of ‘Shivling’ discovered at the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi. A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices Hima Kohli and JB Pardiwala said it will constitute a bench to hear the matter.
“We will constitute a bench for hearing tomorrow at 3 pm itself,” the apex court said. On May 17, the Supreme Court by an interim order directed to protect the area where the ‘Shivling’ was found and granted access to Muslims for namaz shall continue in operation till maintainability of the suit is decided by the Varanasi court and thereafter for eight weeks to enable parties to pursue legal remedies.
Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, appearing for Hindu parties, mentioned the matter before the apex court seeking an extension of the interim order of protecting ‘Shivling’. Jain said the interim order expires on November 12 and it needs to be extended. He also pointed out that the Order 7 Rule 11 (rejection of plaints) application filed by the Muslim parties was rejected.
The Varanasi district court in September had held that the suit was not barred under the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. It had dismissed the plea of the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee that manages Gyanvapi mosque questioning the maintainability of the suit filed by Hindu women.
The top court is seized of an appeal filed by the Committee challenging an order of Allahabad High Court permitting a court-appointed commissioner to inspect, conduct a survey and videography of the Gyanvapi mosque to which Hindus and Muslims have laid claim for the right to worship.
On May 20, the Supreme Court had ordered the transfer of the case related to worship at Gyanvapi mosque from the civil judge to the District Judge, Varanasi.
It had said that District Judge should decide the maintainability of the civil suit in the Gyanvapi-Kashi Vishwanath on priority as sought by the Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Varanasi.