A Varanasi Court on Monday held that a suit filed by Hindu parties seeking worship rights inside the Gyanvapi Mosque is maintainable.
The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee has said the Gyanvapi mosque is a Waqf property and had questioned the maintainability of the plea.
District Judge Dr AK Vishvesha dismissed the plea filed by the Muslim party, Committee of Management of Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, contesting the maintainability of the suit through an application filed under Order VII Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC).
The case arose after Hindu devotees approached the civil court claiming the right to worship inside the premises of the Gyanvapi Mosque, on the ground that it was a Hindu temple and still houses Hindu deities.
The Varanasi District Court on Monday rejected the petition of the Muslim side. The court said that the suit by Hindu parties is maintainable in the court. The court has posted the matter for hearing on September 22 and it will now hear the arguments based on merits.
A single bench of district Judge AK Vishvesh delivered the verdict in the Gyanvapi Shrinagar Gauri dispute case today.
“The court rejected the Muslim side’s petition and said the suit is maintainable. The next hearing of the case is on Sep 22,” advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, representing the Hindu side, said.
The civil court ordered a survey of the Mosque by an advocate commissioner. The advocate commissioner then conducted the videographed survey and submitted a report to the civil court.
The Muslim parties meanwhile filed an application challenging the maintainability of the suit on ground that the Places of Worship Act of 1991, which was introduced at the height of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, seeks to protect the status of all religious structures as it stood on August 15, 1947.
Section 4 of the Act states that the religious character of a place of worship existing on August 15, 1947 shall continue to be the same as it existed on that day.
It bars courts from entertaining cases regarding such places of worship. The provision further states that such cases already pending in courts would stand abated.
The suit before the civil court was, however, transferred to the District Judge by the Supreme Court on May 20 in view of the sensitivity of the issue involved.