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Court removes advocate commissioner for leaking Gyanvapi information to media

Security personnel guard outside the Gyanvapi mosque after its survey by a commission, in Varanasi on May 17, 2022.

Security personnel guard outside the Gyanvapi mosque after its survey by a commission, in Varanasi on May 17, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

A Varanasi court on Tuesday removed the original advocate commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra from his post in the video inspection commission of the Gyanvapi Mosque for leaking information to the media through a private cameraman. It also granted the two remaining court commissioners two more days to submit a report on the videography on the mosque premises and the Shringar Gauri Sthal outside its western wall.

The court said the commission would function under special advocate commissioner Vishal Singh. Assistant advocate commissioner Ajay Pratap Singh would work under his direction.

Mr. Vishal Singh had submitted an application in court stating that Mr. Mishra and Mr. Ajay were not cooperating with him and showing little interest in the commission work.  He told the court that Mr. Mishra had deputed a private cameraperson R.P. Singh and this person was constantly giving “wrong bites” to the media. For this reason, Mr. Mishra was kept out of the commission work on Monday, said Mr. Vishal.

“Extremely irresponsible”

After questioning the three advocate commissioners, Civil Judge, senior division, Ravi Kumar Diwakar noted that Mr. Mishra had conducted himself in an “extremely irresponsible” manner. “When any advocate is appointed as an advocate commissioner and does commission work, then he is as good as a public servant. And it is expected that he will conduct the commission proceedings with total neutrality and honesty, and will not issue any irresponsible statements in public,” said the judge.

The Anjuman Intezamia Masajid, the caretakers of the Gyanvapi Mosque, had on the first day of the commission’s videography survey on May 6 accused Mr. Mishra of being “biased” and sought his removal. However, the court rejected the plea and appointed two other advocate commissioners along with Mr. Mishra.

More time

The judge granted Mr. Vishal more time to file a report. Mr. Vishal had submitted that as the disputed area was large and the commission wanted to focus on all points, they would need at least two more days. The original deadline was Tuesday.

Judge Diwakar also invited objections on separate applications filed by three of the five Hindu plaintiffs and the district government counsel (civil). Plaintiffs Rekha Pathak, Manju Vyas and Sita Sahu have demanded that a fresh survey be conducted after breaking open or removing the wall on the eastern side of the wazu khana (ablution tank) where the “Shivling” was found as well as the northern wall of the tehkhana (underground cell) facing the statue of Nandi. The mosque committee has, however, said that the object claimed to be a “Shivling” by the Hindu plaintiffs was a fountain in the ablution tank.

Mahendra Prasad Pandey, DGC (civil), pleaded before the court to remove the fish in the water tank, as well as the pipeline used by namazis for ablution from the sealed area. The fish could perish in the sealed area, said Mr. Pandey.

The area sealed on Monday was a man-made three-feet deep pond with a pipeline and taps on all four sides which namazis use for wazu, he said. Mr. Pandey also asked the court to address the question of toilets in the sealed area used by namazis and there was no other entry.

The court will hear the applications on Wednesday.

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Printable version | Jun 30, 2022 3:35:51 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/court-removes-advocate-commissioner-for-leaking-gyanvapi-information-to-media/article65423009.ece