The Places of Worship Act, 1991, does not apply in the Gyanvapi mosque-Shringar Gauri complex case and Hindus should be allowed to offer prayers there, the counsel for petitioners told a district court on July 13 while arguing on the maintainability of the case.
District government Counsel Rana Sanjiv Singh said lawyers Harishankar Jain and Vishnu Jain put forth arguments for the Hindu side. The arguments will continue on July 14.
Harishankar Jain told the court that the land on which the Muslim side is staking a claim is of Aadi Vishweshwar Mahadev, the presiding deity of the Kashi Vishwanath temple, and that namaz was offered forcibly there. He claimed that the Places of Worship Act, 1991 is not applicable in the matter.
The Act prohibits conversion of any place of worship and provides for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947. Even if the temple at the site was destroyed, permission should be given for worship, the counsel said.
Five women had filed a petition seeking permission for daily worship of Hindu deities whose idols are located on an outer wall of the mosque but the Muslim side had urged the court to dismiss the case. The Muslim side on Tuesday completed its arguments on the maintainability of the case.
A lower court had ordered a videography survey of the complex. The survey work was completed on May 16 and the report was presented in the court on May 19.
The Hindu side had claimed in the court that a Shivling was found during the videography survey of the Gyanvapi mosque-Shringar Gauri complex. On the Supreme Court's order, the matter is now being heard by the district court from May 23.