After ‘Shivling’ Claims, SC Allows Muslims Access to Gyanvapi Mosque for Namaz

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Supreme Court.

The court had directed the district magistrate of Varanasi to ensure that the place where ‘shivling’ is claimed to have been found is protected but added that it should not bar Muslims from offering namaz inside the mosque.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, made it clear that the order of the Civil Judge Senior Division in Varanasi on Gyanvapi mosque is limited in scope and does not restrict Muslims from accessing the mosque to offer Namaz and to perform religious observations, Live Law reported.

The court issued a notice on the petition by the Masjid committee while fixing May 19 for the next hearing in the case .

The petitioner had challenged the survey ordered by the Varanasi court.

The court had directed the district magistrate of Varanasi to ensure that the place where ‘shivling’ is claimed to have been found is protected but added that it should not bar Muslims from offering Namaz inside the mosque.

The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and PS Narasimha said the operative part of the Varanasi Court order allows the petition filed by a group of Hindu women specifically ordered sealing and protecting the spot of ‘shivling’. However, the application seeks to limit the number of petitions to 20 and to prohibit them from performing the ablution. The apex court said this might create confusion.

“We have excluded the three reliefs sought in the application. We have protected the spot where the ‘shivling’ was found. And we have clarified that this will not restrict the rights of Muslims. I think this is a balance,” Justice Chandrachud told Senior Advocate Huzefa Huzefa Ahmadi, who appeared for the petitioner (Masjid committee), after dictating the order.

The Masjid committee has filed a special leave application before the Supreme Court challenging the orders passed by a civil court in Varanasi for survey of the mosque on a suit filed by few Hindu devotees.

The Varanasi court, on May 16, ordered sealing of the portion of the mosque after the court appointed committee of advocates for survey had found ‘shivling’. The lawyer representing the Muslim side, however, claimed what is being passed off as ‘shivling’ is basically a fountain in the wuzukhana.

The SLP (Special Leave petition) was sought orally last week when Advocate Ahmadi sought status quo on the survey of the mosque. On Friday, the Chief Justice ordered the case to be listed before Justice DY Chandrachud.

Admadi argued before the court that despite the fact that no report was filed by the committee the plaintiff filed an application before Varanasi court that ‘shivling’ has been found and unfortunately the court entertained it in the garb of allowing the proceedings.
The Masjid committee’s main argument is that the suit filed in the Varanasi court violates the Places of Worship Act passed in 1991 which prohibits changing status of mosques, temples, churches as it was on August 15, 1947, the day India got independence.

However, the survey order and claims of ‘shivling’ has sparked concerns among Muslims who fear a repeat of Babri in Varanasi.

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