Setback to Muslim side as SC refuses to halt puja in Gyanvapi mosque cellar

Setback to Muslim side as SC refuses to halt puja in Gyanvapi mosque cellar

Varanasi: In this May, 2022 file photo, the Gyanvapi Mosque after its survey by a commission, in Varanasi. The district court in Varanasi on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, rejected Hindu side's demand seeking carbon dating and scientific investigation of 'Shivling' in the mosque complex. (PTI Photo)

The Supreme Court, on Monday, April 1, refused the Muslim side’s petition to stop the pooja being held in the vyas tehkhana, the southern part of the Gyanvapi mosque. It maintained a status quo thereby stating no change will happen until further legal proceedings.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee against the decision of the Allahabad High Court upholding a Varanasi court’s order allowing Hindu parties to perform puja in the vyas tehkhana.

The bench led by CJI DY Chandchrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra observed, “Bearing in mind the fact that the Namaz is offered by the Muslim community unhindered after the orders dated January 17 and January 31 and the offering of pooja by Hindu priest is confined to the area of tehkhana, it is appropriate to maintain status-quo so as to enable both the communities to offer worships in the above terms,”

“The religious observances by the Hindus shall be in terms of directions contained in the order dated January 31, 2024, subject to the custody of the receiver as specified in the earlier order dated Jan 17, 2024,” the bench stated, adding the status quo will not be disturbed “without obtaining the previous sanction and leave for this Court.”

The Supreme Court also issued a Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by the mosque committee. A SLP is a formal request made to a higher court, in this case, the Supreme Court, asking it to review a decision made by a lower court. The petition is usually filed by the petitioner is not satisfied with the lower court’s decision and wants a fresh look.