The Varanasi Court has postponed the hearing on a petition filed by Hindu devotees asking for a scientific inquiry into a “Shiva Linga” allegedly discovered on the grounds of the Gyanvapi Mosque until October 14.
The hearing was adjourned by District Judge AK Vishvesha when the Anjuman Intezamia Committee (which oversees the Gyanvapi mosque) raised opposition to the claim made by Hindu worshippers. On October 14, the Court will likely issue the order. It should be noted that the Varanasi Court had previously, on October 7, postponed the hearing on the petition after requesting clarification from the parties on the following two points:
- Whether the structure found inside the Gyanvapi Mosque premises [alleged Shiva Linga] is a part of this suit property or not?
- Can the court issue a commission for scientific investigation?
Given that the complaint relates to visible or invisible deities and that the supposed Shiva Linga became visible during the court-appointed survey, the counsel for the Hindu Worshippers have already made a submission to the court that the structure (the “Shiva Linga”) is a part of the suit/case property. Additionally, it was made clear that the Court has the authority to form a commission for science investigation under Order 26 Rule 10A of the CPC. The mosque committee has now submitted their response to the issue.
Background of the Case:
Five Hindu ladies petitioned the Varanasi Court in April 2022 for permission to pray at a Hindu shrine located behind the western wall of the Gyanvapi Mosque compound throughout the year. A scientific investigation of the Shiva Linga supposedly discovered inside the Gyanvapi Mosque grounds has been requested by four of the five Hindu women plaintiffs in the main case. Rakhi Singh, one of the plaintiffs, had disagreed to the carbon dating plea.
On May 16, When the court-appointed Advocate Commissioner stated that he had discovered a Shiva Linga inside the Gyanvapi Mosque grounds during the survey, the claims of the Shiva Linga’s presence within the Gyanvapi Mosque premises were uncovered. As a result, the Court had mandated that the location/area in question be sealed. The District Magistrate, Police Commissioner, and CRPF Commandment, Varanasi, were also instructed by the court to make sure the sealed area was protected.
Later, the Supreme Court had stated explicitly that Muslims’ access to the mosque to perform religious observances such as namaz will not be restricted by the order made by the Civil Judge Senior Division at Varanasi to protect the area where a “shivling” was allegedly discovered during the survey of the Gyanvapi mosque.