Gyanvapi: ASI Resumes Scientific Survey of Mosque; Masjid Committee’s Appeal Against HC Order in SC Today

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) team, women plaintiffs and their counsels were allowed to enter the Gyanvapi mosque premises in Varanasi on Friday morning to carry out the scientific survey of the barricaded area of the mosque.

The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which ensures the upkeep of the mosque and represents the Muslim side in the lead case – Shringar Gauri-Gyanvapi – chose not to take part in the survey.

The ASI survey by 40-members team, aims to find out whether the 17th century mosque is standing over the pre-existed temple or not. It began a day after the Allahabad High Court upheld the district court’s order and ruled that the “scientific survey is necessary in the interest of justice”.

Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee’s joint secretary SM Yasin said the high court has ordered the ASI to conduct a scientific survey without causing any damage to the mosque, and urged the officials to postpone it after the committee appealed against the Thursday’s order. The hearing in the appeal in the Supreme Court is today.

On July 24, the scientific survey, which was in progress at the Gyanvapi mosque, was put on hold by the Supreme Court in order to give some breathing time to the Masjid committee. “We are of the view that some breathing time should be granted to the mosque committee,” the SC bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud had stated.

Besides, the SC further said the district court’s order will not be enforced till 5 pm on July 26. If the petitioner moves the high court, the registrar-judicial of the high court should ensure that it is placed before a bench so that it is heard before the status quo order ends.

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The SC order on the survey was an outcome of the hearing of a petition filed by the Gyanvapi mosque management committee challenging the district court’s order for an ASI survey of the mosque complex.

Since the Allahabad High Court too has quashed the petition and upheld the district court’s order, the Masjid committee has now moved to the Supreme Court to challenge the high court’s order. The matter has been mentioned by advocate Nizam Pasha before the CJI, who was heading a five-judge constitution bench hearing the arguments in the Article 370 case, seeking an urgent hearing. “The Allahabad High Court has passed an order allowing the scientific survey of the mosque. We have filed an SLP (Special Leave Petition) against the order. I have sent an email (seeking urgent hearing). Let them not proceed with the survey…,” he added.