Court rejects Gyanvapi mosque management committee’s plea to stop ASI survey

A court here has rejected the Gyanvapi mosque management committee’s plea to stop the ongoing scientific survey of the complex by the Archaeological Survey of India.

District government advocate Rajesh Mishra said that on the plea filed by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid’s committee, District Judge A K Vishvesh said the survey has already got the nod from the Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court.

Hence, it was not possible to pass any order in this matter from this court, the judge said.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is carrying out a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque premises, next to Kashi Vishwanath temple here, to determine whether the 17th-century mosque was constructed over a Hindu temple.

Mishra said the mosque management committee had claimed before the district court that the ASI survey was being conducted against the prescribed rules and should be stopped. No notice was served to the litigants and no fees were charged, the mosque committee argued.

The district judge said that no new conditions can be imposed on the plaintiffs. “The Archaeological Survey of India is not a private organisation. It is doing government work. It is not right to force someone to pay the expenses of the survey,” the judge said on Thursday.

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Mishra said the court also heard the petition of the Hindu side to survey the sealed ‘wazukhana’ in the Gyanvapi complex. The court has fixed October 5 for a hearing on this matter.

The survey began after the Allahabad High Court upheld a Varanasi district court order and ruled that the survey is “necessary in the interest of justice” and will benefit both the Hindu and Muslim sides. The Supreme Court had refused to stay the Allahabad High Court order.

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