Gyanvapi: Allahabad HC Seeks Masjid Committee’s Reply on Plea for ‘Wazukhana’ Survey


The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday granted the Gyanvapi Masjid committee (Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee) a month to file a counter affidavit in response to a plea challenging a Varanasi court order that declined to direct the ASI to survey the mosque’s ‘wazukhana’.

The court’s order followed a revision petition filed by Rakhi Singh, one of the plaintiffs in the Shringar Gauri Worshipping suit.

The court has scheduled the next hearing for August 14, 2024.

Singh, in her petition, argued that surveying the ‘wazukhana’ area is essential for justice. She claimed it would benefit both the plaintiffs and the defendants and help the court reach a fair decision in the suit. Singh also contended that the Varanasi district judge, in his October 21, 2023, order, failed to exercise the jurisdiction vested in him by law to direct a survey of the ‘wazukhana’ area, where devout Muslims perform ritual ablutions before offering ‘namaz.’

Additionally, her petition argued that the district judge erred by stating that it had deliberately excluded the protected area from the scope of the survey, as there was no such request in the application.

Appearing before the court, Saurabh Tiwari, with Amitabh Trivedi, argued that the survey by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) of the ‘wazukhana’ area is necessary to determine the religious character of the entire property. They further argued that it is possible to survey the ‘wazukhana’ area, excluding the structure known as the ‘Shivling’ by Hindus, using non-invasive methods as directed by the Supreme Court.

A single bench of Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal issued the order granting the Intezamia committee of the Gyanvapi mosque a month to file a counter affidavit on the civil revision challenging the Varanasi district judge’s October 21, 2023, order. The district judge’s order had refused to direct the ASI to conduct a survey of the ‘wazukhana’ area, except for the structure the Hindu side refers to as the ‘Shivling’ inside the Gyanvapi mosque.

It is worth noting that the ASI has already conducted a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi complex and submitted its report to the Varanasi district judge. The ASI’s survey was conducted in accordance with the July 21, 2023, order of the Varanasi district judge, which aimed to determine if the mosque was built over a pre-existing Hindu temple structure.

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