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Gyanvapi Mosque case: Allahabad High Court fines Archaeological Survey of India for not filing affidavit

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The Allahabad High Court has imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on the Archaeological Survey of India for not submitting affidavit on the petitions filed in the case related to the Gyanvapi Mosque complex.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Prakash Padia passed this order on a petition filed by Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Varanasi.

On September 28, the Court had passed the following order:-

“Heard Shashi Prakash Singh, Senior Counsel/Assistant Solicitor General of India assisted by Manoj Kumar Singh, counsel for respondent No 7.

Pursuant to the order dated 12.09.2022 passed by the Court, affidavit has been filed by one Abinash Mohanty, working on the post of Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India, Varanasi along with an application for exemption, the same is taken on record.

It is stated of the affidavit that the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India/respondent no 7 had been suffering with gynaecological health issues and was advised surgery which was to be conducted in August 2022, but due to infecting with Coronavirus on 08.08.2022, the surgery was rescheduled on 14.09.2022 and the same is done on 14.09.2022 in the Max Hospital New Delhi.

It is further stated in the affidavit that due to major surgical intervention, respondent no 7 was an inpatient at the Max Hospital, New Delhi and was discharged from the hospital on 17.09.2022.

It is also stated that Doctor given specific advise that she has be in bed rest for a further period of one month which is to be end on 14.10.2022, copy of the medical/fitness certificate issued by the Senior Director and Unit Head of Obs & Gynaecology, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi is appended Annexure no 1 to the affidavit.

In this view of the matter, a prayer has been made by Shashi Prakash Singh, Senior Counsel/Assistant Solicitor General of India assisted by Manoj Kumar Singh, counsel for respondent no 7 to grant some more time to comply with the order dated 12.09.2022.

List this matter on 18.10.2022 at 2:00 p.m in the additional cause list.

In this view of the matter, personal appearance of respondent no 7 is exempted for today.

Since the matter is of national importance and fact that the suit is pending before the trial Court since 1991, the Court hopes and trust that the Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi will comply with the order dated 12.09. 2022 in its letter and spirit on or before the next date fixed in the matter, i.e, 18.10.2022.

Interim order, granted earlier, is extended till 31st October, 2022.”

The Court noted that on October 18, when the matter was taken up, again a prayer was made by Shashi Prakash Singh, Senior Counsel/Assistant Solicitor General of India assisted by Manoj Kumar Singh, counsel for Archaeological Survey of India to grant at least six weeks time to file counter affidavit.

“Since the Civil Suit is pending before the Civil Court Varanasi is of the year 1991, in the interest of justice, as a last opportunity, ten days further time is granted to file counter affidavit subject to payment of Rs 10,000/- in the Legal Services Committee, Allahabad. The aforesaid amount will be deposited on or before the next date of listing”, the Court ordered and fixed October 31 as the next hearing of hearing in the case.

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