New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave directions to the District Magistrate of Varanasi for protection of the Shivling found from the Gyanvapi Mosque complex during a survey by court Commissioner.
A bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and PS Narasimha ordered that direction to protect the area where Shivling has been found shall not in any manner restrain or impede access of Muslims to the mosque or use of it for performing prayers and religious observances.
It has lifted the prohibition imposed by a Varanasi district court on Muslims from entering Gyanvapi Mosque. The trial court had permitted only 20 people to pray inside the premises.
“The area where Shivling as indicated in the impugned order (of Varanasi district court) is found shall be protected. The above order shall not in any manner restrict or impede the entry of Muslims to mosque for namaz or religious observances,” the bench stated in its order.
- The apex court also issued notice to the Hindu petitioners and Uttar Pradesh government on the plea of Anjuman Intezamia Masajid challenging the Varanasi district court order which directed videographic survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque complex, which is adjacent to the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi.
- The responses are to be filed by Thursday, May 19, when the matter will be heard next.
- Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State of Uttar Pradesh, objected on apex court’s lifting the restriction on entry of Muslims in the area saying government’s concern is that if the area where the Shivling is found is touched by feet then it will lead to law and order situation.
- Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, who appeared for the petitioner Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee, raised his objection on court commissioner conducting the survey despite appeal against it pending before the top court.
- The bench suggested that it would direct the DM concerned to ensure that the place inside the mosque where Shivling is found is protected, but the same would not restrict the right of Muslims to offer Namaz.
- The bench told the counsels, “If a Shivling is found, we have to maintain a balance. We will direct the District Magistrate to ensure protection of the place without restricting Muslims from praying.”