The court stayed the chargesheet in a case filed during the 2022 assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.
In a vital judgement, the Allahabad High Court on Thursday gave its nod to a scientific survey by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) of the Gyanvapi mosque premises in Varanasi rejecting a petition of Anjuman Intezamia Masjid opposing the survey.
The single-bench of Chief justice Pritinkar Diwakar pronounced the judgement saying no one was harmed by this survey. The court also directed that no digging would be allowed nor any damage to any structure during the ASI survey.
The court also maintained that a scientific survey was necessary to find out the truth of the claim of the petitioners. However the court did not give any timeframe for the survey.
The bench had reserved its judgement on July 27 after two days of hearing in the case with even taking the opinion of the ASI experts. The hearing was held in the high court on the instructions of the Supreme Court.
Vishnu Shanker Jain, lawyer of the Hindu side, welcomed the decision saying the survey would now find out the reality about our claim of a temple in the Gyanvapi mosque. He hinted that the survey could commence from today and the report is expected very soon.
Muslim cleric Maulana Khalid Rashid, also a member of the AIMPLB, said that they will again approach the SC against this survey verdict as it is against the 1991 worship Act.
The district judge of Varanasi had ordered an ASI scientific survey of Gyanvapi premises excluding the sealed Wajukhana from July 24 and asked them to submit their report by August 4 but Muslim side approached the Supreme court, who asked them to go to the Allahabad High court on July 25.
Arguing in the court, Muslim side’s lawyer SFA Naqvi had expressed apprehension of damage to the basic structure of Gyanvapi by scientific survey. He had also said that the country has suffered the brunt of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. In a civil suit, a hasty decision on survey and excavation without determining the point of maintainability can be fatal.
However, the ASI rejected the argument of the Muslim side saying that the technique adopted for the survey would not even scratch the basic structure of Gyanvapi. Whereas, Hindu side’s lawyers Vishnu Shankar Jain and Saurabh Tiwari , during the hearing had said that they want to bring out the truth of Gyanvapi through scientific survey.
Hindu side’s lawyer Vishnu Shankar Jain argued that till November 1993 people worshiped at the disputed site. Maa Shringar Gauri, Hanumanji, Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva were worshipped there and parikrama was done at the disputed site.
Jain claimed that the Vyas family used to worship in the disputed premises and it was stopped because of Ram Janmabhoomi agitation in 1993.Even now Shringar Gauri is worshiped only on one day in a year, he said.
Additional Director ASI Alok Tripathi informed that ASI will do GPR survey only and will not dig. The building will not even be scratched in the survey, he had confirmed before the bench.
UP’s Advocate General Ajay Kumar Mishra said that it is the responsibility of the government to maintain law and order in the state. If the survey starts immediately then they will need additional security forces.
The Muslim side had stressed that it is necessary to decide the point of maintainability of civil suit and without fixing the legal point of maintainability, the survey is wrong. They said that the issue of maintainability is pending with the Supreme Court. On this, the Hindu side said that the matter should be resolved soon.