The Allahabad high court reserved its judgment on Friday in a petition challenging the maintainability of a suit seeking 'restoration' of a temple at the site of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi.
Justice Rohit Ranjan Agrawal reserved the judgment after hearing the counsel for the parties. The future date in the case would be decided by the court.
The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee of Varanasi as well as the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board have challenged the maintainability of the original suit filed in the matter in 1991 in the Varanasi district court.
The suit seeks restoration of an ancient temple at the site where the Gyanvapi mosque currently stands. It has been claimed in the suit that the mosque was a part of the temple.
By an order dated August 28, the then Chief Justice Pritinkar Diwakar had transferred the case from Justice Prakash Padia to himself, saying the 'single judge continued with the hearing of these cases for more than two years, even though he had no jurisdiction in the matter as per the roster'.
He had further said the decision to withdraw the case from the single-judge bench to the chief justice's court was taken on the administrative side in the interest of judicial propriety, judicial discipline and transparency in the listing of cases.
Justice Diwakar retired on November 22 and after his retirement, the case was listed before Justice Agrawal.
The counsel for the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, S F A Naqvi, said the petition also challenges a Varanasi court direction to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a comprehensive survey of the Gyanvapi mosque.
The order was passed on April 8, 2021.
Varanasi court order on handing over key to DM on Monday
The Varanasi district court on Friday could not take up a case seeking that the key to the basement of the Gyanvapi mosque complex be handed over to the district magistrate due to mourning over the death of a lawyer and fixed December 11 to pronounce the order.
The court completed the hearing on the appeal of advocate Vijay Shankar Rastogi for becoming a party in the case on Monday and reserved the order for Friday.
But the matter could not be taken up on Friday due to mourning over the death of a lawyer, the counsel for the Hindu side to the dispute, Madan Mohan Yadav, said.
The matter is in the court of District Judge A K Vishvesh.
The authorities had barricaded and locked the basement of the mosque complex in 1993.
Shailendra Kumar Pathak, the grandson of priest Somnath Vyas, who used to perform puja in the basement before its closure in 1993, filed the petition in the court of civil judge Nitesh Kumar Sinha in September, expressing apprehensions about the Muslim side's attempt to establish its influence over the courtyard and pleaded that the key be handed over to the DM.
Rastogi had given an application and appealed to the judge to make him a party to the case.
Yadav, who is Rastogi's lawyer in the case, has pleaded that the key be handed over to the DM, fearing that the contents in the basement could be tampered with.
The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) is conducting a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi premises, located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple, to determine whether the 17th-century mosque was constructed over a Hindu temple.