In a crucial development in the Gyanvapi mosque dispute, a Varanasi district court directed that the Archaeological Survey of India's (ASI) scientific survey report, conducted in July 2023, be provided to all parties involved in the case. The decision by Judge AK Vishvesha ensures transparency in the legal proceedings concerning the mosque.
"Both the parties to the suit must be provided copies of the survey report so that they can file objections against the ASI report if they think it proper. Without providing a copy of the survey report to the parties, it will not be possible for them to file objections against it," emphasized the Court.
The ASI was ordered by the court in July last year to conduct a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque premises, excluding the area previously sealed by the Supreme Court. This excluded area pertains to the "wuzukhana" or ablution pond. Following the survey, Muslim parties challenged its validity, but the Supreme Court rejected the plea, asserting that the High Court order for the survey did not warrant interference at that stage.
The Muslim parties had also questioned the maintainability of the suit under the Places of Worship Act of 1991, arguing that it protects the status of all religious structures as of August 15, 1947. However, both the district court and the High Court deemed the suit maintainable.
In a proactive move towards fairness and due process, the Varanasi court's decision to provide access to the ASI report allows all involved parties to scrutinize and present objections if necessary. This step is essential for a comprehensive and unbiased resolution to the Gyanvapi mosque dispute.
Author: Anushka Taraniya
News Writer, MIT ADT University