Varanasi: A Varanasi court on Monday fixed March 21 for further hearing on a petition seeking to open and probe two cellars in the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex, a government lawyer said.
District government counsel Mahendra Pandey said Varanasi District Magistrate AK Vishvesh posted the matter after nearly two months as the Allahabad High Court adjourned the hearing in a related matter for eight weeks last week.
The Supreme Court case concerns a demand for carbon dating of an object said to be a “shivling” found during a court-ordered survey of the complex. An application for carbon dating was earlier filed by the Hindu party in the district court, which rejected the application. The petitioners then filed a revision petition in the Allahabad High Court.
On January 19, the Supreme Court granted the Archaeological Survey of India another eight weeks to file a reply to clarify whether carbon dating of the claimed ‘shivling’ can damage it or whether a safe assessment of its age is possible.
Justice J J Munir fixed March 20 as the next date of hearing after the ASI counsel sought more time to file its reply.
Mr. Pandey said that in view of this, the District Magistrate on Monday fixed March 21 as the next date of hearing in the basement case.
The Hindu party’s lawyer demanded in the District Magistrate’s court that the locks of the closed “tehkhana” (cellars) of the Gyanvapi complex be opened and a search conducted. The Muslim party submitted its objection to this request.
The Hindu party now has to submit its reply to this.