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Allahabad HC extends stay on survey of Kashi Vishwanath Temple till July 31

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The Allahabad High Court has extended the stay on the order of the subordinate court to conduct a survey by the Archaeological Department of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi mosque complex.

A single bench of Justice Prakash Padia passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Anjuman Intazamia Masjid Varanasi.

Vijay Shankar Rastogi, counsel for the petitioner, placed before the court The Uttar Pradesh Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1983 passed by the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly which came into force on January 28, 1983. He relied upon the definition of the Temple which has been mentioned in Sub Section 9 of Section 4 of the Act, 1983.

The definition the temple is quoted below:-

(9) “Temple” means the Temple of Adi Vishweshwar, popularly known as Kashi Vishwanath Temple, situated in the City of Varanasi which is used as a place of public religious worship, and dedicated to or for the benefit of or used as of right by the Hindus, as a place of public religious worship of the Jyotirlinga and includes all subordinate temples, shrines, sub-shrines and the ashthan of all other images and deities, mandaps, wells, tanks and other necessary structures and land appurtenant thereto and additions which may be made thereto after the appointed date.”

Rastogi argued that rights of the ownership of this Temple and its endowment are vested in the Deity of Kashi Vishwanath, i.e, Lord Vishweshwar which is itself mentioned in Section 5 of the Act, 1983. It is argued that the Linga, which is situated in this Temple, is Swayambhu and also a Jyotirlinga and the Jyotirlinga has a long religious history which has also been mentioned in Puranas.

It is further argued by Rastogi that the validity of Act, 1983 had been challenged up to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court in the case Adi Visheshwara of Kashi Vishwanath Temple Varanasi & others Vs State of UP and others reported in 1997 4 SCC 606 affirmed the validity of this Act, 1983.

Rastogi relied on the aforesaid judgement in which it is mentioned that the idol of Lord Shiva at Varanasi on the bank holy river Ganges is one of the five Jyotirlingas in India believed to be self-incarnations (Swayam Bhuva).

Due to paucity of time, the arguments could not be concluded.

List again for further hearing on July 6, 2022. Interim order, granted earlier, is extended till July 31, 2022.

It is made clear that the hearing of the case will continue on a day to day basis till the arguments are not concluded”, the order reads.

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