HomeIndiaAllahabad HC Refuses To Stay Varanasi Court’s Order Allowing Puja In Gyanvapi...

Allahabad HC Refuses To Stay Varanasi Court’s Order Allowing Puja In Gyanvapi Mosques Tehkhana

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New Delhi: The Allahabad High Court on Friday rejected the plea of the Masjid Intezamia Committee of Gyanvapi mosque to stay the order of the Varanasi district court that permitted the Hindu side to perform puja in the southern cellar of the mosque. The High Court gave time to the committee till February 6 to amend its appeal and challenge the earlier order of January 17, 2024, by which the District Magistrate of Varanasi was appointed as the receiver of the Gyanvapi premises. The next hearing of the case will be on February 6.

The bench of Justice Rohit Ranjan Aggarwal observed that the committee should first question the validity of the January 17 order, following which the DM took possession of the Gyanvapi premises on January 23 and allowed the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust to conduct puja in the basement through a priest by an interim order dated January 31.

The committee’s lawyer, SFA Naqvi, argued that he had to approach the High Court urgently due to the January 31 order, as the DM made arrangements overnight and started the puja within nine hours. He said that he would also challenge the January 17 order, which he claimed was illegal and arbitrary.

The Hindu side’s lawyer, Vishnu Shankar Jain, opposed the appeal and said that it was not maintainable as the original order of January 17 was not challenged. He said that the subordinate court did not grant any relief to the plaintiff, but only delegated the authority to the temple trust.

The committee had also moved the Supreme Court on Thursday morning, but the apex court advised them to go to the High Court first.

Puja and aarti performed in the cellar on Thursday

Meanwhile, following the order of the Varanasi district court, the Hindu side performed puja and aarti in the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi mosque on Thursday morning. The court had directed the DM to make arrangements within seven days for the puja to be performed by the Hindu side and a priest nominated by the Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust.

The court had passed the order on the petition of Shailendra Kumar Pathak Vyas, the head priest of Acharya Ved Vyas Peeth temple, who sought permission to worship Shringar Gauri and other visible and invisible deities in the cellar of the mosque. Vyas belongs to the family that used to perform puja in the cellar till December 1993, when it was closed by the authorities. He claimed that his maternal grandfather, priest Somnath Vyas, was the hereditary pujari of the cellar.

The Muslim side’s lawyer, Akhlaq Ahmed, expressed his dissatisfaction with the order and said that it ignored the Advocate Commissioner report of 2022, the ASI report, and the decision of 1937, which were in favour of the mosque. He said that the Hindu side did not produce any evidence that they had performed puja in the cellar before 1993. He also said that there was no idol of any deity in the place.

The Gyanvapi mosque has four cellars in the basement, out of which one is still in the possession of the Vyas family, who used to reside there. The ASI survey, ordered by the same court in a related case, indicated that the mosque was built during Aurangzeb’s reign over the ruins of a Hindu temple.



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