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Gyanvapi case: Hindu petitioners submit that the mosque stands on land owned by Hindu deity

Varanasi district court is hearing matter pertaining to maintainability of the suit under Order 7 Rule 11 of CPC

Sabrangindia 15 Jul 2022

Gyanvapi

On Thursday, July 14, on the third consecutive day of hearing in the Gyanvapi case before the court of Varanasi district judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha, lawyers for the Hindu petitioners submitted that the mosque stands on land that is owned by the Hindu deity Adi Vishveshwar, and as the deity is eternal, so is the ownership.

The Hindu petitioners contended that the land ownership cannot be claimed by the Waqf Board, and therefore, the provisions of the Places of Worship Act, under which the character of a place of worship cannot be changed from what it was on August 15, 1947, does not apply in this case.

Varanasi district court is hearing matter pertaining to maintainability of the suit under Order 7 Rule 11 of Civil Procedure Code (CPC), as per which a suit cannot be brought if it is barred by an existing law (in this case, it is the Places of Worship Act). Hearing will continue today.

Defendant’s stand

On Tuesday, July 12, Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM) which is the mosque management authority, and the defendant in the case, finished presenting their arguments against the maintainability of the suit under Order 7, Rule 11 (d) of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC).  

According to S M Yasin, general secretary of AIM, “This case cannot go on. The matter has been settled when it comes to religious structures from before 1947. Moreover, the Masjid is Waqf property.”

Petitioners clarify they only want to offer prayers where they took place before 1993

On Wednesday, July 13, four women petitioners in the Shringar Gauri case related to the Gyanvapi mosque have, through their lawyer, clarified before the court that they have neither sought possession of the mosque property, nor do they want the right to worship inside it; they only want to conduct prayers where they took place till 1993.

According to Times of India, dvocate Harishankar Jain, who along with advocate Vishnu Jain, represents four of the five original petitioners, i.e. Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak, told the court of Varanasi district judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha, that “the petitioners had neither sought possession of the so-called mosque property, nor the right to worship inside it.” He added, “The demand is only for allowing 'puja' (worship) at those sites of its compound, where the deities were worshipped till 1993.”

Hindu petitioners at odds with one another?

The above submission has added further fuel to reports that there is a split between various petitioners. Live Hindustan had reported recently that there’s trouble brewing amidst the Hindu petitioners, with one group accusing the lawyer of siding with the Muslim defendants in the case. According to Live Hindustan, Vishwa Vaidik Sanatan Sangh (VVSS) chief Jitendra Singh ‘Visen’, a family member of Rakhi Singh (who has withdrawn her name from this case), claims that advocate Vishnu Jain, who is representing the remaining four Hindu women petitioners, is associated with the Indian Islamic Cultural Centre. According to Visen, this makes Jain sympathetic to the Muslim defendants and thus unfit to represent Hindu petitioners. In fact, VVSS is a petitioner in a parallel case being heard by the fast-track court of civil judge (senior division) Mahendra Kumar Pandey. This second case pertains to restricting Muslim devotees from accessing the mosque, and beginning prayers as per Hindu tradition at the site. Hearing in that case will also take place today.

In fact, as SabrangIndia had reported previously, the Hindu petitioners announced that they had formed a trust to deal with the court case. The trust is supported by four out of the original five women petitioners – Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak.

Brief background of the case

Readers would recall that in August 2021, five Hindu women – Rakhi Singh, Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak, who are all Varanasi residents – had moved the Civil Court (Senior Division), demanding that the Maa Shringar Gauri Temple be reopened, and people be allowed to offer prayers before the idols that are still kept there. Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM), which is the mosque management authority, is the defendant in the case.

On April 8, 2022, Civil Judge (Senior Division), Varanasi, Ravi Kumar Diwakar had appointed Advocate Commissioner Ajai Kumar to carry out the survey and asked him to submit a report at the next hearing on May 10. The AIM opposed this, but their petition against the survey was dismissed by the Allahabad High Court on April 21. The lower court in Varanasi, on April 26, then again passed an order to carry out the survey.

The authorities began conducting the video survey on May 5, and AIM moved SC where it highlighted how the Places of Worship Act, 1991, prohibits changing the character of a place of worship from what it was on August 15, 1947. Thus, AIM said that the suit was not maintainable as per Order 7, Rule 11 (d) of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC).

The SC then transferred the case from the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, who had originally ordered the survey, to the court of a more experienced District Judge to decide upon the maintainability of the suit given Order 7, Rule 11.

Meanwhile, Rakhi Singh withdrew from the case.

Now the case is being heard by judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesh of the Varanasi district court. Hearing will continue on July 15.

Related:

Gyanvapi case: Mosque authority finishes submissions, Hindu petitioners form Trust

Gyanvapi Case: Mosque management committee makes submissions

Gyanvapi case: Varanasi district court to start hearings pertaining to Order 7 Rule 11

Gyanvapi case: Matter pertaining to prohibition of entry of Muslim devotees adjourned till July 14

Gyanvapi case: Hindu petitioners submit that the mosque stands on land owned by Hindu deity

Varanasi district court is hearing matter pertaining to maintainability of the suit under Order 7 Rule 11 of CPC

Gyanvapi

On Thursday, July 14, on the third consecutive day of hearing in the Gyanvapi case before the court of Varanasi district judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha, lawyers for the Hindu petitioners submitted that the mosque stands on land that is owned by the Hindu deity Adi Vishveshwar, and as the deity is eternal, so is the ownership.

The Hindu petitioners contended that the land ownership cannot be claimed by the Waqf Board, and therefore, the provisions of the Places of Worship Act, under which the character of a place of worship cannot be changed from what it was on August 15, 1947, does not apply in this case.

Varanasi district court is hearing matter pertaining to maintainability of the suit under Order 7 Rule 11 of Civil Procedure Code (CPC), as per which a suit cannot be brought if it is barred by an existing law (in this case, it is the Places of Worship Act). Hearing will continue today.

Defendant’s stand

On Tuesday, July 12, Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM) which is the mosque management authority, and the defendant in the case, finished presenting their arguments against the maintainability of the suit under Order 7, Rule 11 (d) of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC).  

According to S M Yasin, general secretary of AIM, “This case cannot go on. The matter has been settled when it comes to religious structures from before 1947. Moreover, the Masjid is Waqf property.”

Petitioners clarify they only want to offer prayers where they took place before 1993

On Wednesday, July 13, four women petitioners in the Shringar Gauri case related to the Gyanvapi mosque have, through their lawyer, clarified before the court that they have neither sought possession of the mosque property, nor do they want the right to worship inside it; they only want to conduct prayers where they took place till 1993.

According to Times of India, dvocate Harishankar Jain, who along with advocate Vishnu Jain, represents four of the five original petitioners, i.e. Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak, told the court of Varanasi district judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha, that “the petitioners had neither sought possession of the so-called mosque property, nor the right to worship inside it.” He added, “The demand is only for allowing 'puja' (worship) at those sites of its compound, where the deities were worshipped till 1993.”

Hindu petitioners at odds with one another?

The above submission has added further fuel to reports that there is a split between various petitioners. Live Hindustan had reported recently that there’s trouble brewing amidst the Hindu petitioners, with one group accusing the lawyer of siding with the Muslim defendants in the case. According to Live Hindustan, Vishwa Vaidik Sanatan Sangh (VVSS) chief Jitendra Singh ‘Visen’, a family member of Rakhi Singh (who has withdrawn her name from this case), claims that advocate Vishnu Jain, who is representing the remaining four Hindu women petitioners, is associated with the Indian Islamic Cultural Centre. According to Visen, this makes Jain sympathetic to the Muslim defendants and thus unfit to represent Hindu petitioners. In fact, VVSS is a petitioner in a parallel case being heard by the fast-track court of civil judge (senior division) Mahendra Kumar Pandey. This second case pertains to restricting Muslim devotees from accessing the mosque, and beginning prayers as per Hindu tradition at the site. Hearing in that case will also take place today.

In fact, as SabrangIndia had reported previously, the Hindu petitioners announced that they had formed a trust to deal with the court case. The trust is supported by four out of the original five women petitioners – Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak.

Brief background of the case

Readers would recall that in August 2021, five Hindu women – Rakhi Singh, Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak, who are all Varanasi residents – had moved the Civil Court (Senior Division), demanding that the Maa Shringar Gauri Temple be reopened, and people be allowed to offer prayers before the idols that are still kept there. Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM), which is the mosque management authority, is the defendant in the case.

On April 8, 2022, Civil Judge (Senior Division), Varanasi, Ravi Kumar Diwakar had appointed Advocate Commissioner Ajai Kumar to carry out the survey and asked him to submit a report at the next hearing on May 10. The AIM opposed this, but their petition against the survey was dismissed by the Allahabad High Court on April 21. The lower court in Varanasi, on April 26, then again passed an order to carry out the survey.

The authorities began conducting the video survey on May 5, and AIM moved SC where it highlighted how the Places of Worship Act, 1991, prohibits changing the character of a place of worship from what it was on August 15, 1947. Thus, AIM said that the suit was not maintainable as per Order 7, Rule 11 (d) of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC).

The SC then transferred the case from the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, who had originally ordered the survey, to the court of a more experienced District Judge to decide upon the maintainability of the suit given Order 7, Rule 11.

Meanwhile, Rakhi Singh withdrew from the case.

Now the case is being heard by judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesh of the Varanasi district court. Hearing will continue on July 15.

Related:

Gyanvapi case: Mosque authority finishes submissions, Hindu petitioners form Trust

Gyanvapi Case: Mosque management committee makes submissions

Gyanvapi case: Varanasi district court to start hearings pertaining to Order 7 Rule 11

Gyanvapi case: Matter pertaining to prohibition of entry of Muslim devotees adjourned till July 14

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