The Varanasi District Court has ordered the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to preserve and document evidence found during the survey of the Gyanvapi mosque, and submit a list to it and the district magistrate.
District Judge A K Vishwesh passed the order on Wednesday and a copy was served to the government counsel as well as to the lawyers of the Hindu and Muslim sides the next day, according to Madan Mohan Yadav, who represents the Hindu side in the case.
He said the court had heard the matter on September 8 in the presence of lawyers from all parties — Hindu and Muslim sides, and the government.
Plaintiff Rakhi Singh of the Hindu side had urged the court to direct the district magistrate to stop the entry of Muslims in the Gyanvapi mosque complex for securing the complex and safeguarding the evidence found during the survey.
Last Friday, the Varanasi court had granted four more weeks to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to complete the scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex and submit its report.
The ASI is carrying out a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque premises to determine whether the 17th-century mosque was constructed over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple.
The survey began after the Allahabad High Court upheld a Varanasi district court order and ruled that the step is “necessary in the interest of justice” and will benefit both the Hindu and Muslim sides.
The ASI survey work resumed on August 4.
The Varanasi court, the same day, also granted the ASI an additional month to complete the survey, extending its original deadline from August 4 to September 4.