Law Insider India

Legal News, Current Trends and Legal Insight | Supreme Court of India and High Courts

SC Declines to Stop Inspection at Gyanvapi Mosque

2 min read

Khushi Gupta

Published on: May 14, 2022 at 18:02 IST

The Supreme Court refused to pass an Status Quo order on an appeal seeking to call off at once the Survey of Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi, saying the matter would have to be considered in due course.

Seeking an urgent intervention from Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, the Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi pleaded for a Status Quo in the Case pending before the Varanasi Civil Court.

“A survey has been directed in relation to the Varanasi property. This is covered under the Places of Worship Act, 1991. Now, the Court has ordered a Court Commissioner to conduct a survey. This has been a mosque since time immemorial,” Ahmadi submitted.

CJI responded: “We have not even seen the papers. We don’t even know what is the matter. I don’t know anything…how can I pass an order? I will read and then pass orders…let me see.”

On a suit filed jointly by five Hindu women, the Varanasi Court last month ordered an inspection of the premises through an Advocate Commissioner, Ajay Kumar Mishra.

In its Order, the Civil Judge clarified that the Advocate Commissioner will have the right to collect evidence from any part of the mosque complex and that no hindrance shall be caused by anyone in the Conduct of this Exercise.

“If anybody creates impediment in the exercise by the Court Commissioners, the District Administration must register a First Information Report (FIR) and take strict action. In any condition, the court commissioner’s exercise shall not stop,” stated the Court Order.

A day after the Civil Court Order, Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee sought an intervention of the Apex Court as it mentioned an Appeal filed by the mosque management against the April 21 order of the Allahabad High Court.

In its appeal, the Committee has argued that the suit filed by the five Hindu women is barred by the Provisions of the Places of Worship Act, 1991. Passed in 1991, the law retrospectively placed status quo to maintain the “religious character” of places of worship as it was in 1947 — except in the case of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.

However, the CJI N V Ramana continued to hold that the court cannot grant the Status Quo order since the Court would have to examine facts before passing any order.

At present, the Supreme Court on May 12 ordered for video survey to proceed without objections and appointed two additional advocate commissioners to assist advocate commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra in conducting the survey.

A report of the exercise will have to be submitted before the Court by May 17.