Lucknow: Varanasi’s Court is expected to decide today whether a case brought by five Hindu women asking for the right to worship at the city’s Gyanvapi mosque, located near the famous Kashi Viswanath temple, is “sustainable” or not.
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District judge AK Vishvesha is likely to issue orders that the women’s case – which led to an investigation at the Gyanvapi mosque – will be heard further or no longer have legal standing.
In May, the Court of Cassation entrusted the case to the Varanasi Court and moved it from a lower court where it had previously been heard.
The Supreme Court had ordered: “In order to keep in mind the complexity and delicacy of the case, the civil proceeding will be heard in the civil court of Varanasi before a high and experienced bailiff of the UP Judicial Service”.
A month before the Supreme Court intervened in the case, the Civil Court of Varanasi had ordered the shooting of the Gyanvapi mosque, based on the petition of Hindu women who claimed that in the Gyanvapi mosque complex there were idols of Hindu gods and deities.
An account of the mosque shooting was then presented to the Varanasi court in a sealed envelope, but the Hindu petitioners released controversial details a few hours later.
The report stated that a “Shivling” was found in a pond in the mosque complex used for “Wazoo” or purification rituals for Muslim prayers.
The judge at the time dealing with the case had ordered the sealing of this pond.
This inclusion in the ancient mosque was contested by the Gyanvapi Mosque Committee at the Supreme Court.
The signatories claimed that the registrations violate the Places of Worship Act of 1991, which maintains the religious status of any place of worship since August 15, 1947.
“Such petitions and the sealing of mosques will lead to malice and disharmony in the community and affect mosques across the country,” the mosque committee said.
The mosque commission made similar arguments to the Varanasi court in the “maintenance” case, while the lawyers of the Hindu signatories argued that the law does not prohibit their case and that they were able to determine in court that the building of the mosque was actually a similar temple on independence day.