New Delhi: The Supreme Court extended its earlier order on Friday, to protect the area where the ‘Shivling’ was stated to be discovered during the court survey at Gyanvapi mosque complex, Varanasi. A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices Surya Kant and PS Narasimha said its interim order of May 17 will continue to remain in operation till further orders.
The bench in its order stated, ‘We direct that pending further orders, the interim order dated May 17 shall continue to remain in operation till further order’. 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. As the interim order expires on November 12, the Hindu side has filed an application for an extension of the order.
Varanasi district court on September 12 had held that the suit was not barred under the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 and rejected the application filed by the Muslim side under Order 7 Rule 11 (rejection of plaints). 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 and 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 ordered the transfer of the case related to worship at Gyanvapi mosque from the civil judge to the District Judge, Varanasi. On the same day, it had also extended its May 17 order of protection of ‘Shivling’. 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.