New Delhi: A 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Monday refused to remain the Hindu prayers within the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi Masjid and sought the response of the priest, Shailendra Kumar Pathak Vyas, by April 30 on the plea of the mosque committee.

The apex court docket additionally ordered establishment on the non secular observances by each Hindus (worship within the southern cellar) and Muslims (namaz within the mosque) contained in the Gyanvapi complicated in Varanasi and posted the matter for consideration in July.

The high court docket was listening to a contemporary plea of the Gyanvapi mosque administration committee towards an Allahabad High Court resolution upholding a decrease court docket’s order permitting Hindu prayers within the southern cellar of the mosque.

Chief Justice Chandrachud famous that each the Muslim and Hindu sides have been conducting their respective non secular observances “unhindered” contained in the mosque premises and, subsequently, the established order would serve the ends of justice for now.

“Bearing in mind the fact that the namaz is offered by the Muslim community unhindered after the orders dated January 17, 2024, and January 31, 2024, and the offering of puja by a Hindu priest is confined to the area of tehkhana, it is appropriate to maintain the status quo to enable both the communities to offer worship in the above terms. The religious observances by the Hindus shall be in terms of directions contained in the order dated January 31, 2024… Status quo as obtained from the above terms shall not be disturbed without obtaining the previous sanction and leave of this court,” the bench, also comprising Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, said.

The apex court, after seeing the Google Earth images of the structures, noted that the entry to the cellar is from the southern side while the entry to the mosque to offer namaz is from the steps on the northern side. The Google Earth images were tagged in the petition filed by the mosque committee.

At the outset, senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, sought a stay on the civil court’s order and submitted that puja was being allowed to take place within the mosque premises.

Ahmadi contended that puja in the mosque premises would only fester some discord between the two communities.

“History has taught us some other lessons where violence has happened despite assurances. This is an egregious order. Communities have lived peacefully. Why this insistence on having this now? For 30 years the situation has been very normal,” he submitted.

Ahmadi alleged that Hindu parties filing multiple applications for different reliefs and there is serious apprehension that bit by bit the Muslim side will lose out to the whole mosque.

Referring to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, Ahmadi said: “We are in your hands and we know what happened at Ayodhya and despite interim orders, the mosque Babri Masjid could not be protected. This is what history taught us.”

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing the Hindu parties, submitted that the orders don’t warrant any intervention by the apex court docket at this stage as there are detailed causes within the trial court docket and the excessive court docket orders.

On February 26, the High Court dismissed the mosque committee’s plea wherein it had challenged the district court docket’s January 31 order permitting Hindus to supply prayers within the cellar.

While dismissing the plea of the mosque committee, the excessive court docket had noticed that the Uttar Pradesh government’s 1993 resolution to cease worship rituals contained in the “Vyas Tehkhana” — positioned at the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi — was “illegal”.

The High Court mentioned worship will proceed within the “Vyas Tehkhana” of the mosque adjoining to the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

A survey carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India on the court docket’s order revealed that the Gyanvapi mosque was constructed throughout Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s rule over the stays of a Hindu temple.

On January 31, the district court docket dominated {that a} Hindu priest might carry out prayers before the idols within the southern cellar of the mosque.

The prayers are actually being carried out by a Hindu priest nominated by the Kashi Vishwanath temple belief and the petitioner Shailendra Kumar Pathak, who has claimed that his grandfather supplied puja within the cellar until December 1993.

The district court docket had directed the native administration to make preparations inside seven days for prayers within the cellar. This would have concerned “correct preparations” with metallic barricades at the complicated.

The January 31 order of the district court docket was delivered on the plea of the petitioner Shailendra Kumar Pathak, who had claimed that his maternal grandfather, priest Somnath Vyas, supplied prayers within the cellar until December 1993.

In his plea before the district court docket, Mr Pathak had mentioned puja was stopped through the tenure of then Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav after the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was demolished on December 6, 1992.


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