Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi Mosque: Sunni Waqf Board moves HC over survey order

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THE UTTAR Pradesh Central Sunni Waqf Board on Tuesday filed an application in the Allahabad High Court seeking to restrain proceedings in a Varanasi court that directed Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to “get a comprehensive archaeological physical survey” done of the disputed Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex.

The order passed by Fast Track Court Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ashutosh Tiwari on Thursday had ordered a survey by ASI to “find out whether the religious structure standing at present at the disputed site is a superimposition, alteration or addition or there is a structural overlapping of any kind, with or over, any religious structure”.

The miscellaneous application filed by the Board was part of a writ petition being heard over the dispute in the Allahabad High Court, which had reserved the order in the matter on March 15, after arguments in the matter were completed.

Advocate Punit Gupta told The Indian Express on Tuesday that they filed the plea as the trial court order was “against the legal procedure which bars a court from hearing the issue as the matter is pending before the High Court”. “We have filed a miscellaneous application in the writ petition in which order was reserved on March 15. Our prayer is that the order by the Varanasi trial court judge be stayed till the High Court order in the issue is out,” said Gupta.

“Our miscellaneous application has prayed that till the order in the writ petition is passed by the High Court, the trial court in Varanasi be restrained from proceeding in the matter,” he added.

Gupta informed that the writ petition was filed by the Sunni Waqf Board and Anjuman Intezamia mosque to challenge the validity of the suit filed in the district court in the title dispute related to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex.

“During court hearings, the plaintiffs in the matter had filed an undertaking stating that they will not proceed with the case on merit till the matter is decided in the High Court. The proceedings in the local court in Varanasi are barred by the Places of Worship Act, 1991, which says that nature of religious places will not be changed from what it was on August 15, 1947,” said Gupta. Gupta informed that the writ petition was filed in the High Court after the trial court rejected an application which had stated that the court that the suit is barred by Places of Worship Act. “The application was rejected by the trial court in Varanasi, and the revision was also rejected.

Then, we had filed the writ petition praying that the suit should be barred in the High Court,” said Gupta.

Meanwhile, a similar application was filed on Monday by the Anjuman Intezamia mosque in the Allahabad High Court. Senior Advocate Syed Farman Ahmad Naqvi, who is representing the mosque in the High Court, said that the “urgent application was filed asking the High Court to stop the Varanasi Trial Court from proceeding in the title suit”.

“We had filed an application on Monday praying that the implementation of order passed by the trial court in Varanasi should be stopped. And in our application, we have stated that since the order in the matter is reserved in the Allahabad High Court, the court in Varanasi has no right to rule on the issue and order a survey by ASI,” said Naqvi.

He added that the Varanasi trial court judge has ignored Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, and order VII Rule 11D of the Civil Procedure Code. The rule deals with any suit which is barred by Statute, which in this case will be the Places of Worship of Worship Act.

S M Yasin, general secretary of Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, said the mosque would file a revision petition in the Varanasi court. “We will be filing a revision petition soon in the district judge’s court,” said Yasin.



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