Gyanvapi mosque case | SC to hear plea against carbon dating of 'shivling' on May 19

The High Court had ordered the authorities to ensure that no harm was done to the edifice claimed to be a ‘shivling’.

Updated - May 18, 2023 01:51 pm IST

Published - May 18, 2023 11:39 am IST - New Delhi

The Allahabad High Court on May 12, 2023 had ordered determination of the age of the structure claimed to be ‘Shivling’ in the Gyanvapi mosque using modern technology. File

The Allahabad High Court on May 12, 2023 had ordered determination of the age of the structure claimed to be ‘Shivling’ in the Gyanvapi mosque using modern technology. File | Photo Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to urgently list on May 19 a petition challenging an Allahabad High Court direction to determine the age of the “shivling” allegedly found in the Gyanvapi mosque premises at Varanasi through carbon dating.

Appearing before a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, for Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Varanasi, the mosque’s caretakers, pleaded urgency.

Explained | The Gyanvapi Mosque-Kashi Vishwanath dispute and the current case

Mr. Ahmadi said the High Court order would become effective from Monday.

The court had initially suggested listing the case on May 22 before a Vacation Bench. The Chief Justice said the Vacation Bench would have Justice P.S. Narasimha, who is part of the Regular Bench, which heard the case earlier.

The High Court had earlier in May set aside a October 14, 2022 order of the Varanasi District Court rejecting a plea for scientific investigation, including carbon dating, of the disputed material.

Explained | Gyanvapi and the Places of Worship Act

The High Court had ordered the authorities to ensure that no harm was done to the edifice claimed to be a ‘shivling’. The mosque authorities say it is part of a fountain in the ‘wazu khana’, where ablutions are performed before namaz.

District Judge A.K. Vishvesha had in October last year and dismissed the application by the Hindu plaintiffs for carbon dating of the disputed structure (shivling) which was allegedly found during a court-ordered video survey of the mosque premises.

Also Read | Fact check round-up: Misinformation on Gyanvapi mosque survey

The District Judge had noted that conducting any kind of scientific investigation on the structure, like carbon-dating or ground penetrating radar, may cause damage to it, which would be in violation of the Supreme Court’s May 17 order to protect the structure.

In May 2022, the apex court had ordered the securing of the ‘shivling’ area while Muslims would be able to offer namaaz in the mosque.

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