In yet another twist in the ongoing case involving the Kashi Vishwanath Temple – Gyan Vapi Mosque, five Hindu women have moved a Varanasi court demanding that they be allowed to offer prayers at the Maa Shringar Gauri Temple.
This temple is situated on the western side of the disputed complex and the petitioners say that till 1998, prayers took place here every day. Rakhi Singh, a Delhi resident and four other Varanasi women have now moved Civil Court (Senior Division), demanding that the Maa Shringar Gauri Temple be reopened, and people be allowed to offer prayers before the idols still kept there. The petition was moved three weeks ago through Advocate Harishankar Jain.
In light of this the court issued notice and sought answers from the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM) which is the mosque management authority, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust (KVTT) and the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The matter comes up for hearing next on September 10.
Connection with the ASI survey
This demand to preserve and reopen the Shringar Gauri temple comes in wake of the court ordering a survey by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI). The purported objective of the petition is to ensure that no damage is done to the idols during the survey.
However, it is noteworthy that the Sunni Board as well as the AIM, have moved Allahabad High Court against the ASI survey order of the lower court. They contend that the lower court should not have passed the order in the first place while the matter pertaining to the wider dispute was still being heard by the Allahabad High Court.
Speaking to SabrangIndia, S M Yasin, general secretary of Masjid (AIM) had explained at the time, “Between January 18 and March 12 arguments were on in the High Court in connection with the stay order case by all parties including the Sunni Central Board and the Anjuman Intazamia Masjid. The judgment was reserved and was expected after April 5, but there was a lockdown due to Covid.” He further explained, “On April 6, we moved another application before the High Court requesting that the lower court be restrained from delivering any order in the case while the High Court judgement remained reserved and this application was to be heard on April 9. But the hearing could not take place, perhaps due to Covid. Meanwhile, the lower court went ahead and passed its order.”
The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board then moved an urgent petition before the Allahabad High Court against the order of the trial court. The Waqf Board’s counsel Puneet Kumar Gupta argued that the trial court passed the order illegally and without its jurisdiction as the matter is in the High Court and Justice Prakash Pandia reserved his order on March 15.
AIM also moved an application, contending that the Civil Judge acted in the “most arbitrary manner” while passing the order to allow the ASI for undertaking a survey at the disputed site and has acted against the spirit of judicial discipline. The application states that by passing orders despite the High Court reserving judgment in the case, the lower court acted “against the spirit of complete justice as well as the challenge to the entire suit proceeding and its authenticity.”
They had also moved an application before the lower court, but withdrew the application when their appeal wasn’t admitted, even three months after the original order.
The Allahabad High Court has reserved judgment in the matter related to the ASI survey and it is expected to be delivered on September 9 at 2 P.M.
Meanwhile, the lower court has ordered the Advocates Commissioner (Panel) to look into the condition of the idols and posted the matter for September 10.