Gyanvapi: SC orders transfer of mosque committee’s plea to district judge

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered to transfer trial court proceedings in the Gyanvapi mosque case to the court of a district judge in Varanasi.

“Having regard to the sensitivity of this civil suit case, this case before the civil judge Varanasi shall stand transferred and be heard by senior and experienced judicial officer of the UP judicial services,” the bench said.

The bench also directed that its interim order of May 17, for protecting the purported “shiva lingam” without impeding the right of Muslims to worship in the mosque would remain in operation pending the disposal of the committee’s application and for eight weeks thereafter so as to enable any party aggrieved by order of the district judge to seek redressal.

The top court said that the application filed by the Gyanvapi mosque committee challenging the maintainability of the suit filed by five Hindu women would be decided on priority by the district judge.

The apex court also asked the district magistrate to ensure that appropriate arrangements are made for ablution at the mosque if they are not already made.

The mosque committee had argued that the Varanasi court order appointing a commissioner for inspecting the mosque was in violation of the Places of Worship Act, 1991.

It also contended that the status quo that had existed for the past 500 years had already been changed by the sealing of the premises and therefore even if the matter had to be sent to the district judge, the status quo as existed before must remain.