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Gyanvapi case: Survey report findings leaked despite court’s warning

Within minutes of the court sharing copies of the report with the petitioners on May 30, it was leaked to a section of the press

Sabrangindia 31 May 2022

Gyanvapi

Bhaichara bana rahe (may brotherhood remain),” with these words Judge Ajay Kumar Vishvesha of the Varanasi District Court handed over copies of the report on the findings of the video survey of Gyanvapi mosque to the four Hindu women who had originally moved the petition to perform traditional prayers at the Maa Shringar Gauri temple that they say is located at the site of the Gyanvapi mosque. The court urged them to keep the findings confidential in the interest of communal harmony.

The report was handed in sealed envelopes to the plaintiffs Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak who also gave an affidavit stating they will not make the findings public and paid a fee of Rs 2,100 each. Times of India quoted the plaintiff’s lawyer advocate, Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi as saying, “As per the court directive, plaintiffs in the petition 696/2021 Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak gave their affidavit, declaring that they would not make public the contents of the photos and video footages of the court-mandated videography survey of Gyanvapi mosque.”

But shortly after the survey report was given to them, copies of it also found their way to multiple media outlets that started showing videos and images purportedly taken at the survey. As SabrangIndia does not have a copy of the report, it can not corroborate the authenticity of these videos, images and other findings reported by other news outlets.

Interestingly, the lawyers representing the defendants i.e the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM), which is the mosque management authority, could not be given copies of the survey report or CDs containing videos and images. The Times of India quoted AIM’s lawyer advocate Abhay Nath Yadav as saying, “The formalities of furnishing an undertaking as per the court directive could not be completed on Monday. We will soon complete the formalities submitting an affidavit and deposit the prescribed fee to receive the CDs from court.”

Therefore, it is clear that the mosque authorities were not responsible for the leak.

The Varanasi district court is first hearing arguments to determine maintainability of the suit in accordance with Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC).

What is Order 7, Rule 11 of the CPC?

According to Order 7, Rule 11 of the CPC, a court can reject a plaint:

(a) where it does not disclose a cause of action;

(b) where the relief claimed is undervalued, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to correct the valuation within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so;

(c) where the relief claimed is properly valued, but the plaint is returned upon paper insufficiently stamped, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to supply the requisite stamp-paper within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so;

(d) where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law.

The suit was originally filed in August 2021, by a few Hindu women before the Civil Court (Senior Division), demanding that the Maa Shringar Gauri Temple located on the premises of the Gyanvapi mosque be reopened, and people be allowed to offer prayers before the idols that are still kept there. The petitioners cited the right to practice one’s faith and religious freedom guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution.

Following this a video survey of the area was ordered and the survey was carried out despite objections raised by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM), which is the mosque management authority. AIM is the defendant in the case. After the Allahabad High Court denied their appeal against the survey, the 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 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.

On Monday, May 30, the court adjourned hearings till July 4. Meanwhile, three more parties - Lord Vishweshara (through next friend) Hindu Sena, Brahmin Sabha, and Nirmohi Akhara, have also approached the court seeking impleadment in the suit as plaintiffs.

Related:

Gyanvapi case: District court adjourns hearings in maintainability suit till July 4

Gyanvapi case: Hearing continues on provisions of Order 7 Rule 11 of CPC

Gyanvapi case: Two Kashi Vishwanath Mahants debunk ‘Shivling’ claims

Gyanvapi case: SC transfers the case from Trial Court to District Court

Gyanvapi case: Mosque authorities advise devotees against turning up for namaz in large numbers

Varanasi peace activists begin campaign to maintain communal harmony

Halt Gyan Vapi proceedings today: SC to Varanasi Court

Gyanvapi case: Video survey report to be submitted before Varanasi court today

Gyanvapi case: “Shivling” controversy continues

SC orders "Shivling" to be protected without denying Muslims access to the mosque

Gyanvapi case: Varanasi court removes controversial Advocate Commissioner

Shivling ‘found’ on Gyanvapi mosque premises, court orders area sealed

Gyanvapi case: Two more advocate commissioners added to Shringar Gauri survey team

Gyanvapi case: Court to pronounce order in Shringar Gauri temple survey matter today

Gyanvapi case: One out of five withdrawing name from Maa Shringar Gauri temple petition?

Gyanvapi case: Videographic survey of Maa Shringar Gauri temple begins

Gyanvapi case: Allahabad HC stays ASI survey, proceedings before lower court

Gyanvapi case: Varanasi court to hear petition to hold prayers in Shringar Gauri temple

Gyanvapi case: Survey report findings leaked despite court’s warning

Within minutes of the court sharing copies of the report with the petitioners on May 30, it was leaked to a section of the press

Gyanvapi

Bhaichara bana rahe (may brotherhood remain),” with these words Judge Ajay Kumar Vishvesha of the Varanasi District Court handed over copies of the report on the findings of the video survey of Gyanvapi mosque to the four Hindu women who had originally moved the petition to perform traditional prayers at the Maa Shringar Gauri temple that they say is located at the site of the Gyanvapi mosque. The court urged them to keep the findings confidential in the interest of communal harmony.

The report was handed in sealed envelopes to the plaintiffs Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak who also gave an affidavit stating they will not make the findings public and paid a fee of Rs 2,100 each. Times of India quoted the plaintiff’s lawyer advocate, Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi as saying, “As per the court directive, plaintiffs in the petition 696/2021 Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak gave their affidavit, declaring that they would not make public the contents of the photos and video footages of the court-mandated videography survey of Gyanvapi mosque.”

But shortly after the survey report was given to them, copies of it also found their way to multiple media outlets that started showing videos and images purportedly taken at the survey. As SabrangIndia does not have a copy of the report, it can not corroborate the authenticity of these videos, images and other findings reported by other news outlets.

Interestingly, the lawyers representing the defendants i.e the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM), which is the mosque management authority, could not be given copies of the survey report or CDs containing videos and images. The Times of India quoted AIM’s lawyer advocate Abhay Nath Yadav as saying, “The formalities of furnishing an undertaking as per the court directive could not be completed on Monday. We will soon complete the formalities submitting an affidavit and deposit the prescribed fee to receive the CDs from court.”

Therefore, it is clear that the mosque authorities were not responsible for the leak.

The Varanasi district court is first hearing arguments to determine maintainability of the suit in accordance with Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC).

What is Order 7, Rule 11 of the CPC?

According to Order 7, Rule 11 of the CPC, a court can reject a plaint:

(a) where it does not disclose a cause of action;

(b) where the relief claimed is undervalued, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to correct the valuation within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so;

(c) where the relief claimed is properly valued, but the plaint is returned upon paper insufficiently stamped, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to supply the requisite stamp-paper within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so;

(d) where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law.

The suit was originally filed in August 2021, by a few Hindu women before the Civil Court (Senior Division), demanding that the Maa Shringar Gauri Temple located on the premises of the Gyanvapi mosque be reopened, and people be allowed to offer prayers before the idols that are still kept there. The petitioners cited the right to practice one’s faith and religious freedom guaranteed by Article 25 of the Constitution.

Following this a video survey of the area was ordered and the survey was carried out despite objections raised by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM), which is the mosque management authority. AIM is the defendant in the case. After the Allahabad High Court denied their appeal against the survey, the 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 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.

On Monday, May 30, the court adjourned hearings till July 4. Meanwhile, three more parties - Lord Vishweshara (through next friend) Hindu Sena, Brahmin Sabha, and Nirmohi Akhara, have also approached the court seeking impleadment in the suit as plaintiffs.

Related:

Gyanvapi case: District court adjourns hearings in maintainability suit till July 4

Gyanvapi case: Hearing continues on provisions of Order 7 Rule 11 of CPC

Gyanvapi case: Two Kashi Vishwanath Mahants debunk ‘Shivling’ claims

Gyanvapi case: SC transfers the case from Trial Court to District Court

Gyanvapi case: Mosque authorities advise devotees against turning up for namaz in large numbers

Varanasi peace activists begin campaign to maintain communal harmony

Halt Gyan Vapi proceedings today: SC to Varanasi Court

Gyanvapi case: Video survey report to be submitted before Varanasi court today

Gyanvapi case: “Shivling” controversy continues

SC orders "Shivling" to be protected without denying Muslims access to the mosque

Gyanvapi case: Varanasi court removes controversial Advocate Commissioner

Shivling ‘found’ on Gyanvapi mosque premises, court orders area sealed

Gyanvapi case: Two more advocate commissioners added to Shringar Gauri survey team

Gyanvapi case: Court to pronounce order in Shringar Gauri temple survey matter today

Gyanvapi case: One out of five withdrawing name from Maa Shringar Gauri temple petition?

Gyanvapi case: Videographic survey of Maa Shringar Gauri temple begins

Gyanvapi case: Allahabad HC stays ASI survey, proceedings before lower court

Gyanvapi case: Varanasi court to hear petition to hold prayers in Shringar Gauri temple

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