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Shivnarayan Singh | HENB | New Delhi | May 19, 2022:: The Supreme Court, hearing a petition challenging the videography of Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque, on Friday said “selective leaks” to the press must stop. This comes after Hindu petitioners released details of the mosque videography report just hours after it was handed over to a Varanasi court in a sealed cover on Thursday. “Do not leak things to the press, only the judge opens the report,” the SC said.
The Supreme Court also said there is a “need for healing touch” and a sense of “balance and calm on the ground” is needed.
Earlier this week, lawyers representing these petitioners claimed that a Shivling was found during the videography survey of the Gyanvapi mosque-Shringar Gauri complex. The claim was disputed by the mosque committee members who said it was part of the water fountain in the wazookhana reservoir, used by devotees to perform ritual ablutions before offering namaz. The district court had then ordered the sealing of the ‘wazookhana’.
The Supreme Court had directed the Varanasi court on Tuesday to ensure the protection of the area where the Shivling is claimed to have been found, but without impeding “religious observances” of Namaz.
The SC also suggested trial of suit for worship inside the mosque be handled by the district judge. The district judge will decide whether the mosque committee’s plea that suit by the Hindu party isn’t maintainable and till then interim order-protection of Shivling area and free access to Muslims for namaz-will continue, the SC suggested.
Supreme Court orders that senior and experienced judicial officer of UP Judicial services will hear the case. “We have not said anything about the (senior division civil court) Judge. We have said in a positive way that a senior and experienced person (district judge) should handle,” says Supreme Court.
SC bench of Justices Chandrachud, Kant and Narasimha said that the district judge, on the matter being transferred to him, would decide on priority mosque management committee’s plea that suit is not maintainable because of bar under Protection of Places of Worship Act, 1991.
“Here a structure of Zoroastrian faith will not make the Christian structure Zoroastrian or vice versa, but the ascertainment of religious character of a place may not necessarily fall foul of section 3 of the 1991 Act,” Supreme Court says.
Forget there is mosque on one side and temple on the other. Suppose there is a Parsi temple and there is a cross in the corner of the area. Does the presence of ‘agyari’ make the cross agyari or agyari Christian? This hybrid character is not unknown. Supreme Court says ascertainment of religious character is not barred under Section 3 of the 1991 Places of Worship Act.
SC offers suggestions to maintain peace and calm in connection with the Gyanvapi case all around.
Indicating the matter to be listed after vacations and interim order to continue, SC says at the end of hearing, ‘We hope everyone has a happy and healthy vacation.’
__With Inputs from NDTV & TNN.
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