SC to hear plea seeking nod to worship ‘Shivling’ in Gyanvapi premises

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to list for hearing on July 21 a fresh plea seeking its permission to worship the ‘Shivling’, which is stated to be found in the Gyanvapi mosque premises in Varanasi during a court-ordered survey.

The plea also sought carbon dating of the ‘Shivling’ to ascertain its age.

A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli took note of the submissions of lawyer Vishnu Shankar Jain that the plea be listed for hearing on July 21 along with the pending petition of the ‘Anjuman Intezemia Masjid Committee’ which manages the affairs of the Gyanvapi mosque.

Another bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud is seized of a plea of the mosque committee challenging the survey of the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex in which the ‘Shivling’ is stated to be found and listed it for hearing on July 21.

“This is a petition to allow ‘darshan and pooja’ of the ‘Shivling’which has been found in the complex and also to direct the ASI to do the carbon dating of ‘Shivling’.

The petition filed by Masjid Committee challenging the commission survey is coming up on July 21. Please list it along with that,” Jain said.

The top court agreed to list the matter for hearing along with the Masjid committee’s matter being heard by the bench headed by Justice Chandrachud.

On May 17, the top court had directed the District Magistrate of Varanasi to ensure protection of the area inside the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex where the ‘Shivling’ was said to be found in the survey and allowed Muslims to offer ‘Namaz’ and perform “religious observances”.

Later, the bench transferred the civil suit filed by Hindu devotees on Gyanvapi mosque from civil judge (senior division) to district judge, Varanasi saying looking at the “complexities” and “sensitivity” of the issue, it is better if a senior judicial officer having an experience of over 25-30 years handles this case.

The bench had also said that its earlier interim order of May 17 directing protection of the area where ‘Shivling’ is said to be found and allowing Muslims to offer ‘Namaz’ in mosque premises shall remain in operation till the maintainability of the suit is decided by the district judge and thereafter for eight weeks to allow the aggrieved parties approach the higher court.

The court of the district judge of Varanasi is continuing with the hearing in the case.

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