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Gyanvapi: Supreme Court extends interim order on protection of purported Shivling found during survey

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The Supreme Court on Friday extended the interim order it passed on May 17 regarding protection of the object found during a survey at the Gyanvapi Mosque complex in Uttar Pradesh, stated to be a ‘Shivling’.

The instructions were passed by the Bench of Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice Surya Kant and Justice P.S. Narasimha on a petition moved by the Hindu side.

The Apex Court ruled that the interim order dated May 17 would continue to remain in operation till further orders.

The top court of the country further directed the petitioners to approach the District Judge of Varanasi regarding transfer of other cases related to the matter.

The petitioners had sought transfer of all cases related to the Gyanvapi Mosque complex, including those filed in the Civil Court of Varanasi, to the Court of District Judge in Varanasi.  

The Apex Court observed that the District Judge will decide whether to hear all the petitions together or not.

On May 17, the Bench of then Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha had directed the District Magistrate to ensure protection of the place without restricting Muslims from praying.

The Apex Court had permitted Muslims to visit the Gyanvapi Mosque, setting aside the order of a Varanasi Court that had prohibited the minority community from entering the complex.

The top court of the country passed the order, while hearing an appeal that challenged the Allahabad High Court order. The High Court had permitted a Court-appointed Commissioner to conduct a survey and videography of the Gyanvapi Mosque complex in Varanasi, which lies next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

Justice Chandrachud said, “We will issue a direction to the trial court judge to dispose of your application.”

Senior Advocate Hufeza Ahmadi argued in the court that this must come to a standstill and a status quo should be must be maintained in the case.

Ahmadi argued that the Varanasi court cannot seal the premises. “With greatest respect, there is a string of illegal orders passed,” he said.

The Apex Court observed, “If a ‘Shivaling’ is found, we have to maintain a balance. We will direct the District Magistrate to ensure protection of the place without restricting Muslims from praying.”

The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee had moved the Supreme Court against the Allahabad High Court order.

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