Allahabad HC allows ASI to conduct survey of Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi
Allahabad High Court on Thursday allowed the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct a survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi. “Allahabad High Court has said that the ASI survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex will start. Sessions court order is upheld by the High Court,” Vishnu Shankar Jain, representing the Hindu side in the Gyanvapi survey case told reporters. The Allahabad High Court dismissed Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee’s plea, challenging the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) survey of the mosque complex, adjacent to Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi. The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee had challenged the Varanasi District Judge’s July 21 order. On July 21, Varanasi district judge AK Vishvesha ordered the ASI survey of the Gyanvapi complex on an application moved by four Hindu women on May 16, 2023.
The order of the district judge, however, excluded the Wuzu Khana (ablution pond area) of the complex, which has been sealed on the order of the top court. Earlier the Allahabad High Court asked the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to not start the survey of Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi as the hearing on the matter is underway after Supreme Court put on hold till 5 pm July 26 a detailed scientific survey by the ASI to determine if the mosque located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi was built upon a temple.
The court was hearing a plea against a district court order directing the ASI to conduct the controversial survey. Supreme Court earlier corrected its order in relation to the Gyanvapi mosque case whereby on July 24 it inadvertently disposed of an appeal of the committee questioning the maintainability of a suit by Hindus in the trial court seeking worship rights inside the mosque. While granting the relief on the interim plea by staying ASI survey, the top court disposed of the main case on July 24. The mosque committee had moved the top court with its interim plea in the pending petition seeking a stay of ASI work.