Allahabad HC stays lower court from hearing Gyanvapi case

Gyanvapi mosque.

Prayagraj, Feb 27 (IANS) The Allahabad High Court has stayed a lower court’s order to proceed with the hearing of a case related to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi mosque dispute in Varanasi.

On February 4, 2020, the Varanasi lower court had held that since the writ petition is pending before the Allahabad High Court, no interim order was passed in the past six months, the stay is deemed to be vacated as per the ruling of the Supreme Court in ‘Asian Resurfacing of Road Agencies case’ and it can resume hearing of the case.

One of the parties, Anjuman Intazamia Masjid of Varanasi had challenged the decision of the Varanasi civil court.

Hearing the petition on Wednesday, Justice Ajay Bhanot fixed March 17, 2020 as the next date of hearing of this case.

The petitioner’s contention was that it had earlier filed a petition related to the dispute and court had granted a stay order in the case directing civil court not to proceed in the case pending before it.

However, the civil court wrongly interpreted the order of the Supreme Court and held that since the said order was not extended by the high court in the past six months, the stay is deemed to be vacated and now, it can resume hearing of the case, the petitioner said.

In the original petition filed before the Varanasi civil court in 1991, KV Mandir Trust had contended that the Kashi Vishwanath temple was built by Maharaja Vikramaditya about 2050 years ago.

According to the Trust’s petition, Mughal emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the temple in 1664 and used the remains of the temple to construct a mosque on a portion of the land, which is known as Gyanvapi mosque.

The Trust requested the lower court to issue directives for the removal of the mosque on the temple land and give back the possession of the land to the temple trust.

The trust had contended in the original suit that the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act was not applicable on its suit as the mosque was constructed over a partly demolished temple and even today parts of the temple exist.

In 1998, Anjuman Intazamia Masjid, Varanasi, moved the High Court with contention that the mandir-masjid dispute could not be adjudicated by a civil court as it was barred by the law.

The High Court then had stayed the proceedings at the lower court which continued for the past 22 years.

In February this year, the trust approached the lower court again with a plea to resume the hearing as the High Court had not extended the stay in the past six months.

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