The Supreme Court has directed the District Collector Varanasi to convene a meeting considering the request of the Gyanvapi masjid committee to make arrangements for permitting wuzu (religious ablution) in view of the Ramzan month.
A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala gave the order while hearing an application filed by the Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masjid (which manages Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi).
The mosque committee was represented by Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, who submitted that the wuzu used to be done in the fountain area and there were certain wash rooms near the fountain area; however, after last year’s order to protect the area where a shivlinga was claimed to have been discovered, the entire area got sealed, making it difficult and so asked for an order to direct the authorities to consider the request.
The counsel further stated that the Supreme Court’s order had clarified that the direction to seal the area will not restrict the right of Muslims to have religious observances, which will include wuzu.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the State of Uttar Pradesh, said that there are existing arrangements for providing water for wuzu.
The SG said that the entry to the toilets, is from one side which according to one group is the fountain and the other group is the shivlinga so there could be problems.
In response, Ahmadi submitted that the masjid side would be content with even mobile toilets. SG added that the concern is that the mobile toilets should not affect the sanctity of the premises and the officers will have to take an appropriate call on that.
Considering the request, and noting the details, the bench directed the District Collector to convene a meeting to provide a “congenial working arrangement”.
The bench said that if there is a consensus in the meeting, the same can be implemented without waiting for further orders of the Court.