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

Court had previously dismissed plea for FIR against mosque management committee

Sabrangindia 04 Jul 2022

Varanasi court

On July 4, the court of Varanasi district judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha will start hearing arguments pertaining to Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) with respect to the maintainability of the law suit against the Gyanvapi mosque.

SabrangIndia had reported previously how the hearings had started on May 26, after the supreme court had transferred the case from the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, to the present district court of Judge Visvesha. The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM), that is the mosque management committee and the defendant in this case had argued against the maintainability of the suit given provisions of Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC), and sought that the plea filed by the Hindu women petitioners be rejected.

On Monday, May 30, the court adjourned hearings till July 4. AIM will continue presenting their arguments today.

What is Order 7 Rule 11

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 mosque management authority. 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 “Shivling” controversy

The Advocate Commissioners in charge of the survey submitted their findings in a survey report, as well as the data card containing videos and images to the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, who had originally ordered the survey. Even before the survey report was submitted, lawyers of the Hindu petitioners claimed that a “Shivling” had been discovered in the Wazu Khana (ablution tank) of the mosque, and the lower court ordered it sealed. The AIM appealed against this order that was passed even as the SC was hearing AIM’s plea against the maintainability of the suit.

The Supreme Court then permitted the place to be sealed but ordered that this should not cause any inconvenience to Muslims to access the mosque and offer prayers. The SC then transferred the case to the court of a more experienced District Judge to decide upon the maintainability of the suit given Order 7, Rule 11.

At this point, the Hindu petitioners also moved a plea before the District Judge for permission to offer prayers at a spot where a “Shivling” was allegedly discovered. This despite the fact that the findings of the video survey had still not been made public officially, and no competent authority has confirmed that the structure is indeed a “Shivling”. The AIM says that it is a portion of an old defunct fountain. In fact, not one but two Mahants of the Kashi Vishwanath temple have also debunked “Shivling” claims and said that just about any stone sculpture cannot be labelled a “Shivling”. Additionally, the Hindu Sena has also filed an application before the Varanasi District Judge to be made party to the suit. They have also demanded that the Gyanvapi site be handed over to Hindus for worship.

On June 8, 2022, the Varanasi district court rejected the plea filed by Swami Avimukteshwaranand seeking permission to offer prayers to the structure found inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex which has been claimed to be a ‘Shivling’ as per the survey report of the ordered by the Court. After hearing the matter, the district judge Ajay Krishna Vishwesha rejected the application reportedly stating, “The application presented by the applicant does not appear to be of urgent nature. The application submitted by the applicant for grant of permission to present the suit in summer vacation is rejected.”

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. Also, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind moved the Supreme Court seeking to become a party in the PIL challenging the constitutional validity of provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 which froze the religious character of structures as it was at the time of independence.

Plea for FIR against AIM dismissed

In related developments, the same court on June 27, rejected a plea by the Vishwa Vaidik Sanatan Sangh (VVSS), that demanded that a First Information Report (FIR) be filed against AIM. The petitioner feared that symbols related to Hinduism were being destroyed by the mosque committee. SabrangIndia had reported previously how VVSS, led by Jitendra Singh ‘Visen’ alleges that the AIM has damaged the basic structure of the Lord Visheshwar temple located on the mosque premises, and demanded that the FIR be filed as per provisions of the Places of Worship Act. VVSS had first moved the court of the special chief judicial magistrate, but it rejected this petition.

On June 14, VVSS moved the district court, and was heard on June 23. The AIM submitted that the case related to the main matter was already being heard by the court and therefore the petition for filing an FIR should not be entertained. On June 23, the court reserved its order pertaining to filing of FIR against AIM, and on June 27, the court dismissed the plea.

According to a Times of India report, the judge in his order observed that the petitioner had not explicitly mentioned any fact on the basis of which cognizable offence appears to have been committed, and upheld the lower court’s decision to dismiss the petition.

Related:

Gyanvapi case: Varanasi court reserves order on admitting petition pertaining to FIR against AIM
Gyanvapi case: Plea demanding FIR against mosque authorities to be heard on June 23
Gyanvapi case: VVSS demands FIR against mosque authorities
Gyanvapi Case: Varanasi Court rejects plea seeking permission to worship alleged ‘Shivling’ inside the mosque

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

Court had previously dismissed plea for FIR against mosque management committee

Varanasi court

On July 4, the court of Varanasi district judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha will start hearing arguments pertaining to Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) with respect to the maintainability of the law suit against the Gyanvapi mosque.

SabrangIndia had reported previously how the hearings had started on May 26, after the supreme court had transferred the case from the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, to the present district court of Judge Visvesha. The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM), that is the mosque management committee and the defendant in this case had argued against the maintainability of the suit given provisions of Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC), and sought that the plea filed by the Hindu women petitioners be rejected.

On Monday, May 30, the court adjourned hearings till July 4. AIM will continue presenting their arguments today.

What is Order 7 Rule 11

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 mosque management authority. 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 “Shivling” controversy

The Advocate Commissioners in charge of the survey submitted their findings in a survey report, as well as the data card containing videos and images to the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, who had originally ordered the survey. Even before the survey report was submitted, lawyers of the Hindu petitioners claimed that a “Shivling” had been discovered in the Wazu Khana (ablution tank) of the mosque, and the lower court ordered it sealed. The AIM appealed against this order that was passed even as the SC was hearing AIM’s plea against the maintainability of the suit.

The Supreme Court then permitted the place to be sealed but ordered that this should not cause any inconvenience to Muslims to access the mosque and offer prayers. The SC then transferred the case to the court of a more experienced District Judge to decide upon the maintainability of the suit given Order 7, Rule 11.

At this point, the Hindu petitioners also moved a plea before the District Judge for permission to offer prayers at a spot where a “Shivling” was allegedly discovered. This despite the fact that the findings of the video survey had still not been made public officially, and no competent authority has confirmed that the structure is indeed a “Shivling”. The AIM says that it is a portion of an old defunct fountain. In fact, not one but two Mahants of the Kashi Vishwanath temple have also debunked “Shivling” claims and said that just about any stone sculpture cannot be labelled a “Shivling”. Additionally, the Hindu Sena has also filed an application before the Varanasi District Judge to be made party to the suit. They have also demanded that the Gyanvapi site be handed over to Hindus for worship.

On June 8, 2022, the Varanasi district court rejected the plea filed by Swami Avimukteshwaranand seeking permission to offer prayers to the structure found inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex which has been claimed to be a ‘Shivling’ as per the survey report of the ordered by the Court. After hearing the matter, the district judge Ajay Krishna Vishwesha rejected the application reportedly stating, “The application presented by the applicant does not appear to be of urgent nature. The application submitted by the applicant for grant of permission to present the suit in summer vacation is rejected.”

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. Also, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind moved the Supreme Court seeking to become a party in the PIL challenging the constitutional validity of provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 which froze the religious character of structures as it was at the time of independence.

Plea for FIR against AIM dismissed

In related developments, the same court on June 27, rejected a plea by the Vishwa Vaidik Sanatan Sangh (VVSS), that demanded that a First Information Report (FIR) be filed against AIM. The petitioner feared that symbols related to Hinduism were being destroyed by the mosque committee. SabrangIndia had reported previously how VVSS, led by Jitendra Singh ‘Visen’ alleges that the AIM has damaged the basic structure of the Lord Visheshwar temple located on the mosque premises, and demanded that the FIR be filed as per provisions of the Places of Worship Act. VVSS had first moved the court of the special chief judicial magistrate, but it rejected this petition.

On June 14, VVSS moved the district court, and was heard on June 23. The AIM submitted that the case related to the main matter was already being heard by the court and therefore the petition for filing an FIR should not be entertained. On June 23, the court reserved its order pertaining to filing of FIR against AIM, and on June 27, the court dismissed the plea.

According to a Times of India report, the judge in his order observed that the petitioner had not explicitly mentioned any fact on the basis of which cognizable offence appears to have been committed, and upheld the lower court’s decision to dismiss the petition.

Related:

Gyanvapi case: Varanasi court reserves order on admitting petition pertaining to FIR against AIM
Gyanvapi case: Plea demanding FIR against mosque authorities to be heard on June 23
Gyanvapi case: VVSS demands FIR against mosque authorities
Gyanvapi Case: Varanasi Court rejects plea seeking permission to worship alleged ‘Shivling’ inside the mosque

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