Allahabad HC to Hear Kashi Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque Dispute From March 29

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Allahabad: The Allahabad HC has decided to hold regular hearings in the case(s) related to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi mosque dispute of Varanasi starting March 29.

The order was passed by the bench of Justice Prakash Padia while hearing a petition filed by the Anjuman Intazamia Masazid, Varanasi, last year seeking a stay on the proceedings. The Anjuman Intazamia Masazid had also filed applications challenging the maintainability of the civil suit pending before the lower court.

A plea was filed before the Varanasi local court in 1991 by the Ancient Idol of Swayambhu Lord Vishweshwar and 5 others seeking removal of the Gyanvapi Mosque and return of the land to the Hindus.

Notably, the suit had already been stayed by the high court, including the lower court order that had directed the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) to survey the mosque complex.

The Allahabad HC in September 2021 had also held that the lower court should wait for the verdict in the petitions before the High Court and refrain from proceeding further in the matter until the judgement is delivered.

Advocate Vijay Shankar Rastogi, who is representing A.D.J Varanasi and others on Thursday submitted before the court that the petitioner (Anjuman Intazamia Masazid Varanasi) initially filed an application under Order VII Rule 11(d) of the Civil Procedure Code for rejecting the plaint (of the Ancient Idol of Swayambhu Lord Vishweshwar and 5 others) but he did not press the same for a considerable time and instead of pressing the aforesaid application, he chose to file written statement in the plaint.

Rastogi further averred that based on the pleadings in the suit, the issues were framed by the trial court. “It is clear from the averments of the plaint that the property in question, i.e. the temple of Lord Visheshwar has been in existence from ancient time, i.e., Satyug up till now and the Swayambhu Lord Visheshwar is situated in the disputed structure, therefore, the aforesaid land in dispute is itself an integral part of Lord Visheshwar,” Rastogi submitted.

The lawyer contended that regardless of its shape and size, the ground floor cellar of the complex is still in possession of the plaintiff, which is the structure of the old temple built before the 15th century. He said the religious character of the place of worship remained the same as on the day of August 15, 1947, and therefore, the provisions of the Place of Worship Act, 1991 cannot be applied in this case.

However, the arguments could not be concluded on Thursday, and correspondingly, the court adjourned the matter till 2 pm on March 29, from when the matter will be heard regularly till its conclusion.

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