Supreme Court allows Hindu worship to continue at Gyanvapi premises
Jaano Junction

Supreme Court allows Hindu worship to continue at Gyanvapi premises

The Supreme Court refused to pause the puja in the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi mosque complex premises in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi.

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to pause the puja being conducted in the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi. The court also ordered a status quo on the worship by both Hindus and Muslims on Gyanvapi premises.

A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud sought a response from the Kashi Vishwanath temple trustees and others by April 30 on a plea of the Gyanvapi mosque committee. It also fixed a plea of the mosque committee against the nod for puja in the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi premises for final disposal in July.

The Supreme Court's judgment came after a Varanasi court on January 31 ruled that the Hindu side can offer their prayers in the 'Vyas Ji ka Tehkhana', the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi. The ruling was upheld by the Allahabad High Court in February after the Muslim side challenged the January 31 order.

The Supreme Court was hearing an appeal filed by the Muslims against the Allahabad High Court order that rejected their plea challenging the January 31 Varanasi court ruling, which allowed Hindus to offer their prayers in the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi mosque.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, who represented the Muslim side, had placed on the record a Google Earth image comprehending the area in dispute and some part of the surroundings. "For the present purpose, the correctness of the image is not disputed by the respondent without prejudice to their rights in the suit," the Supreme Court observed.

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Supreme Court allows Hindu worship to continue at Gyanvapi premises

"From the image, it is not being disputed that access to the tehkhana, which forms the subject matter of orders dated January 17 and 31, is from the southern side. On the contrary, access to the mosque for the purpose of offering namaz is from the northern side," the bench noted.

On February 26, the Allahabad High Court dismissed the mosque committee's plea in which it had challenged the Varanasi court's January 31 order allowing Hindus to offer prayers in the cellar.

While dismissing the plea of the mosque committee, the high court had observed that the Uttar Pradesh government's 1993 decision to stop worship rituals inside the 'Vyas Ji Ka Tehkhana' was "illegal".

Several Hindu activists challenge a temple existed earlier at the disputed Gyanvapi mosque site and was demolished in the 17th century on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, a claim rejected by the Muslim side.

Source: India Today

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