Supreme Court allows Muslims to pray in Gyanvapi Mosque, asks police to secure Shivling area

The Supreme Court on Tuesday 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.

A Bench comprising Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha passed the order, while hearing an appeal that challenged the Allahabad High Court order, which 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.

Last Friday, the Apex Court had refused to grant interim order of status quo on the survey. Later on, the top court had listed the plea against the survey.

At the same time, the president of the Hindu Sena also filed an intervention plea seeking the dismissal of the appeal.

 The plea said the Gyanvapi Mosque is exempt from the Places of Worship Act, 1991, because Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Shringar Ma Gauri temple within the Gyanvapi Mosque complex fall under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological sites and Remains Act, 1958.

On Monday, the three-day-long court-monitored videography survey of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex concluded.

Soon after that, a local court had ordered the sealing of a pond in the Gyanvapi Masjid complex after lawyers representing the Hindu petitioners said a ‘shivling’ was found there during the court-mandated survey.

However, a mosque management committee member disputed the claim, saying the object was part of the water fountain mechanism at the wazukhana reservoir where devotees carry out ablutions before offering namaz.

Anjuman Intezamiya Masjid Committee joint secretary Syed Mohammad Yasin had claimed that the mosque management was not heard by civil judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar before issuing the order.