A Varanasi fast-track court on Tuesday deferred the pronouncement of its verdict until November 14 on the maintainability of plea seeking a ban on the entry of Muslims into the Gyanvapi mosque premises and its possession to worship a ‘Shivling’ reportedly found there. Civil judge (senior division) Mahendra Pandey reserved his judgement in the matter on October 27.
The Muslim side is allowed to offer prayers at present.
The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee (AIMC), which manages the mosque, challenged the maintainability of the Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh’s (VVSS) plea seeking the ban and possession of the premises.
AIMC says it’s waqf property
It argued the mosque is registered as a waqf (charitable endowment) property and the civil court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter. Only the waqf tribunal has the authority to hear the matter, it argued. The AIMC’s lawyer said that the proof of the Gyanvapi mosque being a waqf property has been submitted to the court.
A group of Hindu women has separately filed a plea for the right to worship in the mosque saying it was the site of a Hindu temple.
SC to hear plea on Nov 10
The Supreme Court is due to hear a plea related to the protection of the ‘Shivling’ on November 10. Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, representing the five Hindu women, approached the top court for listing the matter before the period for the protection was to get over by November 12.
In May, the apex court had ordered the area where the ‘Shivling’ was reportedly found to be protected.
The top court permitted the Muslims to offer prayers and directed authorities to ensure appropriate arrangements are made for religious observance by those visiting the mosque.
Controversy over ‘Shivling’
During the previous hearing that took place in October, the Varanasi court had refused to allow carbon dating of the purported ‘Shivling’ found inside the Gyanvapi Mosque’s wazukhana as demanded by the Hindu side.
The Muslim side said that the structure found was a ‘fountain’. The Hindu side had then submitted an application in the Varanasi District Court on September 22 that sought a carbon dating of the object they claimed to be ‘Shivling’.
The Hindu side said that they would approach the Supreme Court against the Varanasi court’s verdict refusing to allow a ‘scientific investigation’ of the purported ‘Shivling’.