Gyanvapi Issue | National

Supreme Court asks Varanasi court to stop proceedings till it hears case on May 20

The Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File

The Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File | Photo Credit: R. V. Moorthy

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the Varanasi court to halt its proceedings in the Gyanvapi mosque suit until the apex court took up the case on Friday.

A Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud agreed to adjourn the case till 3 p.m. on Friday as the senior lawyer briefed by one of the parties, the five Hindu women who are plaintiffs in the suit filed before the trial court in Varanasi and are respondents before the Supreme Court in the petition filed by the mosque’s caretakers against the survey of the mosque premises, was personally indisposed due to an illness.

In a reply filed in the court later through the online service, the Hindu women, claimed a portion of the temple was demolished on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the late 1600s.

Lawyers on both sides present before the Bench agreed to not take up the suit proceedings in the Varanasi court till Friday.

The order to the trial court to desist from proceeding further came after senior advocate Huzefa Ahamadi voiced apprehensions that further orders from the lower court may cause irredeemable harm.

“We will keep the hearing for tomorrow, until then don’t proceed before the trial court,” Justice Chandrachud addressed advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, who appeared for the Hindu women.

The Bench directed the trial court to “strictly abide” by its order to not proceed with the suit proceedings for the time being

Mr. Jain agreed to immediately convey the Supreme Court’s order to the local lawyer in Varanasi, who would inform the trial court formally.

In the previous hearing on May 17, the Supreme Court had directed the District Magistrate of Varanasi to ensure the protection of the area where a Shivling was reported to be found while ordering that Muslims should not be restricted or impeded from accessing the Gyanvapi mosque to offer namaaz or perform religious observances.

“We are not disturbing anything but holding everything in balance,” Justice D.Y. Chandrachud had addressed the court after passing the interim order.

“This is a situation when everybody must co-operate,” Justice P.S. Narasimha, the pusine judge, had also spoken from the Bench.

The court, in order to “obviate any dispute”, had “restricted” a May 16 order of the trial judge which led to the sealing of a portion of the mosque premises.

The trial judge, on May 16, had “allowed” an application filed by several Hindu women claiming that a Shivling had been found near the wazu khana (place of ablution) during the inspection of the mosque premises by a Court Commission. The women had wanted the trial court to direct the local CRPF Commandant to seal the wazu khana and stop its use with immediate effect. The women’s application had also sought the trial judge to order the District Magistrate to restrict the entry of Muslims for namaaz and not allow more than 20 of them.

The Supreme Court had “excluded” any of these reliefs “allowed” by the trial judge in his May 16 order. Instead, the Bench confined its order to only directing the protection of the specific area in which the Shivling has reportedly been found without affecting the right of Muslims to offer prayers in the mosque.

“We are balancing the reliefs till the next date of hearing... The District Magistrate will ensure that the place where the Shivling has been found will be protected, but this will not in any way restrict or impede the access of Muslims to the mosque for purpose of namaaz or prayers as before,” Justice Chandrachud had observed.


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Printable version | Jun 16, 2022 9:07:59 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-asks-varanasi-court-to-stop-proceedings-till-it-hears-gyanvapi-case-on-friday/article65429303.ece