The Allahabad High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by the Gyanvapi committee challenging a district court order directing the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a survey to determine if the mosque was built upon a temple.
It said the district court order is just and proper, and no interference from this court is warranted.
The Varanasi district court had on July 21 directed the ASI to conduct a ”detailed scientific survey” -– including excavations, wherever necessary — to determine if the Gyanvapi mosque located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple is built upon a temple.
The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid committee, which manages the mosque, had moved the high court on July 25, a day after the Supreme Court halted the ASI survey till 5 pm on July 26, allowing time for the committee to appeal against the lower court’s order.
Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker had reserved the order on the mosque committee’s petition on July 27 after hearing arguments from both sides.
Dismissing the petition on Thursday, the high court said there is no reason to not believe the ASI’s assurance that the survey will not cause any damage to the structure.
It asserted that no digging should be done at the mosque as part of the survey.
The order of the district court for a survey on the disputed premises is just and proper, and no interference from this court is warranted, it added.
Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, who represented the Hindu side, told reporters that the high court said the district court’s order on the ASI survey will become effective immediately.
”This is a very important decision by the high court. The argument by the Anjuman Intezamia that the survey will affect the structure (of the mosque) has been rejected by the court, which has dismissed its petition,” he said.
The mosque committee had earlier argued that it did not get a chance to approach the high court, Jain said.
Therefore, the high court heard all its arguments before arriving at the decision that the district court order will be implemented with immediate effect, he said.
Earlier, the counsel for the mosque committee had submitted that the matter regarding maintainability of the suit is pending before Supreme Court and if the top court later comes to the conclusion that it is not maintainable, then the entire exercise will be futile.
Thus, the survey should be conducted after the Supreme Court’s decision on maintainability of the suit, the counsel had said.
On the other hand, Jain has argued that the court had ordered the ASI survey to come to a logical conclusion.
When the hearing started in the case, ASI Additional Director Alok Tripathi assured the court that the ASI is not going to do any digging at the structure.
The mosque’s ‘wazukhana’, where a structure claimed by Hindu litigants to be a ‘shivling’ exists, will not be part of the survey — following an earlier Supreme Court order protecting that spot in the complex.
Hindu activists claim that a temple existed earlier at the site and was demolished in the 17th century on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.