Madhya Pradesh HC Grants ASI Eight Weeks for Bhojshala Survey


The Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court has granted an additional eight weeks to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to complete its scientific survey of the disputed medieval-era Bhojshala Temple-Kamal Maula Mosque complex.

The Bench

However, a division bench of Justices SA Dharmadhikari and Gajendra Singh made it clear that the ASI will not be given any further extension beyond this 8-week period.

The bench scheduled the next hearing for July 4 and directed the ASI to submit its final report. It also rejected a plea from a group of Muslims seeking a stay on the survey work.

Muslim Community

The Maulana Kamaluddin Welfare Society, representing the Muslim community, objected to the ASI’s request for more time. It also claimed that the ASI was conducting excavations contrary to the Supreme Court’s order in the matter.

Previous Hearings

On April 1, the Supreme Court emphasized that “no physical excavation should be carried out which would alter the character of the premises in question,” while declining to halt the “scientific survey” of Bhojshala.

On Monday, the High Court dismissed the objection raised by the Maulana Kamaluddin Welfare Society and stated that the respondent was free to approach the appropriate forum if any violation was occurring.

The Bhojshala, an 11th-century monument protected by the ASI, is considered by Hindus to be a temple dedicated to Vagdevi (Goddess Saraswati), while the Muslim community refers to it as Kamal Maula Mosque.


According to an arrangement made by the ASI on April 7, 2003, Hindus perform puja in the Bhojshala premises on Tuesdays, while Muslims offer namaz in the complex on Fridays.

On March 11, the High Court directed the ASI to conduct a “scientific survey” of the Bhojshala-Kamal Moula mosque complex within six weeks, following a petition from an organization called Hindu Front for Justice (HFJ). The survey commenced on March 22.

On April 22, the ASI filed an application stating that it required additional time for the survey to understand the nature of exposed portions of the structures in the disputed premises.

The ASI’s application mentioned that a detailed survey of the complex and its peripheral area is underway using scientific tools, and its team is meticulously documenting the entire monument.

It also stated that excavation, a meticulous and gradual process, is ongoing, and more time is necessary to comprehend the nature of exposed portions of the structures.

The application further indicated that the ASI had requested the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) to conduct a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey.

A team from NGRI was regularly surveying the entire area in strict compliance with the directions issued by the High Court, the ASI’s plea noted.

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