Gyanvapi Mosque: Hindus File Plea in Supreme Court to Perform Religious ‘Shivling’ Rituals in Gyanvapi Mosque

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court for an instruction allowing Hindus to perform religious practices or rituals at ‘Shivling’ at the disputed site of Gyanvapi, which is adjacent to the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi.

The petition filed by a Rajesh Mani Tripathi, Chairman of Shri Krishana Janma Bhumi Mukti Sthal, said that from the start of the month of ‘Shravana’, Hindus could be allowed to offer puja and exercise their right.

“The petitioner’s right to preach his own religious practices and rituals according to Hindu customs as provided for in Article 25 of the Constitution of India and it is a fact that the month of Shravana is celebrated to offer puja to the Lord Shiva…and the petitioner came to court seeking permission to practice his prayer in the month of Shravana to offer puja, exercise the rights of “freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion” as guaranteed by Section 25 of the Constitution of India,” the plea stated.

Further, the plea stated that the petitioner wished to practice religious practices as guaranteed by the Constitution of India on the “Shivling” found during the investigation conducted in accordance with the order passed by the relevant court in Varanasi.

On May 20, the Supreme Court ordered the transfer of the case relating to worship at the Gyanvapi Mosque from the civil judge to the Varanasi district judge. He had ordered that his Interim Order adopted on May 17 – to protect the area where the Shivling was found and access to Muslims for namaz – continue to operate until the maintainability of the prosecution is decided and then for eight weeks to allow the parties to pursue legal remedies.

He had said that the district judge should decide on the maintainability of the civil suit in the Gyanvapi-Kashi Vishwanath as a matter of priority, as requested by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Varanasi management committee.

The appeal was filed by the committee that runs the Gyanvapi Mosque in the High Court challenging an order of the Allahabad High Court authorizing a court-appointed commissioner to inspect, conduct an investigation and videograph the Gyanvapi Mosque to which Hindus and Muslims claimed for the right to worship.

Ruth R. Culp