UP News: In a significant legal move, a court in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi has directed the distribution of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)’s scientific survey report on the Gyanvapi mosque. The order was issued by the fast-track court of civil judge senior division on Tuesday in response to an application filed by Advocate Vijai Shankar Rastogi on January 4.
Context of the Suit
The suit, titled ‘Ancient Idol Swayambhu Lord Vishweshwar and others Vs Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committe and others,’ originated in 1991 when Harhar Pandey and two others filed a case in a Varanasi civil court. The suit seeks worshiping rights inside the Gyanvapi Masjid complex and the removal of the mosque. The case is currently pending before the fast-track court of civil judge (senior division) in Varanasi.
ASI Report Disclosure
Rastogi, acting as the next friend of Lord Visheshwar, filed the application, and the court ordered the distribution of the ASI report to the involved parties. The term “next friend” denotes a person representing another individual who is unable to appear in court.
Amit Kumar Srivastava, the standing government counsel representing ASI, confirmed the court’s decision, stating, “The court of civil judge (senior division) passed the order that the copy of the ASI report on the scientific survey of Gyanvapi be provided to the parties as per rule.”
Background of ASI Survey
The ASI submitted the survey report to the Varanasi district judge on December 18, 2023. The district court, on July 21, 2023, had ordered an extensive survey of the mosque by ASI to determine whether it was constructed over a pre-existing temple. Although the report was submitted in December, its main findings were disclosed publicly on Thursday by Vishnu Shankar Jain, the lead lawyer representing four Hindu women plaintiffs seeking regular worshiping rights in the mosque complex.
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