[Gyanvapi-Kashi Vishwanath] Varanasi Court Rejects Hindu Devotees’ Plea Seeking Carbon Dating of ‘Shivling’

Sakina Tashrifwala

Published on: October 16, 2022 at 21:08 IST

The Varanasi Court has rejected a petition filed by Hindu devotees requesting a scientific examination of the ‘Shivalinga’, which was allegedly discovered inside the Gyanvapi Mosque premises.

The Court denied the petition in light of the Supreme Court’s order to protect the location where a “shivling” was allegedly discovered during the survey of the Gyanvapi mosque.

“If Carbon Dating or Ground Penetrating Radar is permitted and if any damage is caused to the ‘Shivalinga’ then it would be a violation of the Supreme Court order to protect it and it might also hurt the religious sentiments of the general public,” remarked the Varanasi Court.

Hindu worshippers had requested a scientific examination to determine the age of the ‘Shivalinga’ monument in dispute (as claimed by the Hindu worshippers).

It should also be noted that the Anjuman Masjid committee has referred to the structure in question as a Fauwara/Fountain.’

After hearing the concerns of the Anjuman Intezamia Committee (which oversees the Gyanvapi mosque), District Judge AK Vishvesha today rejected the Hindu worshippers’ request.

“It will not be appropriate to direct the Archaeological Survey of India to determine the age, and nature of the ‘Shiva Linga’ and there is no possibility for the determination of the questions involved in the suit by way of this order,” stated the Varanasi Court.

It should be recalled that the Varanasi Court had previously adjourned the hearing on the petition on October 7 after seeking clarity from the parties on the following two points:

  • Whether the structure found inside the Gyanvapi Mosque premises [alleged Shivalinga] is a part of this suit property or not?
  • Can the court issue a commission for scientific investigation?

The Hindu Worshippers’ counsels had argued before the Court that the structure (‘Shiva Linga’) is a part of the suit/case property because the suit’s original pleadings state that the suit relates to visible or invisible deities, and since the alleged Shiva Linga became visible during the court-appointed survey, it would undoubtedly be a suit property.

It was further emphasised that the Court has the authority to issue a commission for scientific research under Order 26 Rule 10A of the CPC. The Mosque committee has now filed its response in the subject.

Furthermore, on October 11, the Anjuman Intezamia Committee (which maintains the Gyanvapi mosque) objected to the Hindu worshippers’ desire for a scientific investigation of the structure in question.

The Case’s History

Our readers will notice that four of the five Hindu ladies (plaintiffs) in the main complaint have filed the instant petition for a scientific inquiry of the Shiva Linga reportedly discovered inside the Gyanvapi Mosque grounds.

One of the claimants (Rakhi Singh) had objected to the Carbon Dating request.

It should be emphasised that the four plaintiffs have filed an application under Order 26 Rule 10A of the CPC, which gives the Court the authority to appoint a commission for scientific research.

This petition was submitted 10 days after the Varanasi Court dismissed the Anjuman Islamia Masjid committee’s petition (filed under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC) opposing the suit brought by five Hindu women (plaintiffs) seeking worshipping privileges in the Gyanvapi Mosque compound.

The assertions of the Shiva Linga’s presence within the Gyanvapi Mosque premises were made prominently on May 16, when the court-appointed Advocate Commissioner stated that he discovered a Shiva Linga during the survey.

As a result, the Court ordered that the location/area be sealed.

The operative portion of the order states, “The District Magistrate, Varanasi is instructed to immediately seal the site where the Shiva linga is found and entry of any individual is banned in the sealed place.”

The Court further ordered the District Magistrate, Police Commissioner, and CRPF Commandment, Varanasi, to protect the sealed location where Shivling was allegedly discovered during the survey of the Gyanvapi mosque.

Later, the Supreme Court clarified that the order issued by the Civil Judge Senior Division in Varanasi to protect the location where a “shivling” was claimed to have been discovered during the survey of the Gyanvapi mosque will not limit Muslims’ access to the mosque to offer namaz and perform religious observances.

For the uninitiated, the Varanasi Court ordered an assessment of the grounds in April 2022 in response to petitions filed by five Hindu women seeking year-round access to pray at a Hindu shrine behind the western wall of the Gyanvapi Mosque complex in Varanasi.

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