Gyanvapi case: AIM finally gets copy of survey report

New applicants want to be made party to the case, next hearing on October 17

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The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (AIM), which is the management committee of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, has finally been handed over a copy of the court-appointed Advocate Commissioners’ report on the videographic survey of the mosque that was carried out in May this year.

Readers would recall that in May this year, two days after the deadline set by the court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar, three Advocate Commissioners – Ajay Kumar Mishra, Ajay Singh and Vishal Singh – submitted their report and CDs of the survey in a sealed cover to the court. After this, on the order of the Supreme Court the case was transferred to the court of Judge Ajay Kumar Vishvesha of the Varanasi District Court.

On May 31, just minutes after copies of the report were handed over to handed in sealed envelopes to the plaintiffs Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas and Rekha Pathak – 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 report was leaked to the media. It is noteworthy that when they were given a copy of the report, all four gave an affidavit stating they will not make the findings public and paid a fee of Rs 2,100 each.

Interestingly, at that time, a copy of the survey report or CDs containing videos and images could not be given to the AIM. The Times of India had at that time 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.

But on Friday, October 14, the AIM was finally given a copy of the survey report. AIM’s counsel told TOI, “Today, we received the report of the court commission survey, conducted between May 6 and 16, along with the video footages in order to complete the preparations for filing objections.” He further said, “We expect that further proceedings in case no. 18/2022 would be started immediately after issuance of the order of the district judge court on the issue of applications submitted to become a party in the case on October 17.”

This brings up the curious case of at least 16 entities who have moved applications before the court on September 22, to be made parties to the case in line with Order 1 Rule 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC). This rule enables the court to add any person as party at any stage of the proceedings, if the person whose presence before the court is necessary in order to enable the court effectively and completely adjudicate upon and settle all the questions involved in the suit.

The applications were moved shortly after the court had passed its judgment with respect to the maintainability of the suit and the court had heard them. Interestingly, both sides – the petitioners and the defendants – are opposed to new entities being added as parties. On Friday, October 14, the court rejected the applications of seven entities due to their absence in court, and another applicant withdrew their application. The decision on the remaining eight applications will now be made on October 17.


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



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