Varanasi: The hearing of the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque case was held on Monday and the district court fixed the next date on March 25 on the petitioner’s plea for survey of the entire compound by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Advocate Vijay Shankar Rastogi, as the ‘next friend’ of Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar, had filed an application in the court of civil judge in December 2019, requesting for the survey of the entire Gyanvapi compound by the ASI.
Later in January 2020, Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee had filed an objection against the petition.
Legal proceedings in the case had first started in 1991, when a petition was filed in Varanasi civil court on behalf of Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar seeking permission for worship in Gyanvapi.
The petitioner had contended that Kashi Vishwanath Temple was built by Maharaja Vikramaditya about 2,050 years ago, but Mughal emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the temple in 1664 and used its remains to construct Gyanvapi masjid on a portion of the temple land.
The petitioner requested the court to issue directions for removal of the mosque and giving the land back to temple trust.
The petition also stated that the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act was not applicable on the suit as the mosque was constructed on a partly-demolished temple and many parts of the temple exist even today.
In 1998, Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee had moved the high court saying the dispute could not be adjudicated by a civil court as it was barred by law. The high court stayed the proceedings in lower court which continued for the past 22 years.
In February 2020, the petitioners approached the lower court again with a plea to resume the hearing as the HC had not extended the stay in past six months.