Gyanvapi-Kashi Vishwanath dispute
In the case of Laxmi Devi v State of UP, An appeal was made by Hindu parties to the ASI asking it to direct a scientific investigation. The Varanasi District Court judgement from October 2022 was being contested in court by the Hindu side. Hindu enthusiasts claimed that Gyanvapi Mosque was once a Hindu temple and still had worshippers of the Hindu god Shiva, and they petitioned a civil court for permission to conduct religious services there. The ruling of the lower court was appealed to the high court because it erroneously assumed that scientific research such as carbon dating or the use of a ground penetrating radar, would hurt or damage the historical object.
whether the object discovered while conducting an archaeological examination caused damage to a Shiva linga in Gyanvapi Mosque
The object that was found at the site after being inspected by an attorney commissioner, according to the petitioner, is a Shiva Linga, a Hindu deity that has existed on the property in question since the beginning of time. Additionally, they contend that the Court must order the ASI to determine the nature and age of the same to fully uphold the law and offer a remedy to a sizable number of Lord Shiva believers.
The ASI’s legal representative argued that the site should be subjected to scientific research and analysis to determine Shivlinga’s true age. This was done without causing any harm to the site.
The respondent’s attorney raised this concern over the court’s proceedings in light of the Supreme Court’s order from May 17, 2022, which stated that the object needed to be protected. Because of this, it was argued that it could not be disturbed and that any order given to conduct scientific research on the site would be in violation of the earlier ruling.
High Court Decision
A single judge bench of Allahabad high court Justice Arvind Kumar Mishra held that The report submitted by the Superintending Archaeologist would make it practicable and convenient for scientific study to be performed to the degree and purport without harming the site in question, the court notes without reservation. The Varanasi District Court’s ruling from October 20, 2022, rejecting a request by Hindu parties for the ASI to conduct a scientific study, was overturned by the Bench. Therefore, it instructed the Varanasi District Judge to move forward with the case and conduct a scientific inquiry of the Shivlinga under the supervision and direction of the ASI. A conclusion that is not supported by the pertinent information in the file is that any scientific inquiry would have the potential to harm the structure.