Varanasi (UP): Security has been tightened in Varanasi, where a district court is scheduled to hear on Monday the Gyanvapi mosque, where five Hindu women petitioners claimed access for daily worship of goddess Shrinagar Gauri.
The case came to the district court from the lower court (senior division court) on the order of the Supreme Court on May 20, and all the files of the case were transferred to the district court on Saturday.
District government counsel (civil) Mahendra Prasad Pandey said the district judge court will on Monday make clear the points on which the hearing would start.
Earlier on Friday, the Supreme Court bench said the district judge should decide the maintainability of the civil suit in the Gyanvapi-Kashi Vishwanath on priority as sought by Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Varanasi.
The apex court also clarified that in view of the sensitivity and complexities of the issue, it would be proper for a judicial officer with 25-30 years of experience to handle it.
The mosque management had disputed the moves to alter the status of the mosque as it would be a violation of the Places of Worship Act passed by the Parliament in September 1991, in the light of the Babri masjid controversy. The said law has prohibited any change in the status of any place of worship as they existed on 15 August 1947, and their ownership should remain with the same party as it existed on that date.
The appeal was filed by the Committee that manages the Gyanvapi mosque against an order of Allahabad High Court permitting a court-appointed commissioner to inspect, conduct survey, and videography of the Gyanvapi mosque to which Hindus and Muslims have laid claim for right to worship.
The lower court in Varanasi court had ordered the sealing of a spot in the complex after being told that a Shivalinga was found inside the Gyanvapi Mosque premises by the court-appointed advocate Commissioner during the survey.
On May 20, during the hearing of the petition of AIM Committee, the Supreme Court refused to interfere with the survey order passed in the Gyanvapi mosque case and transferred the civil suit filed by Hindu devotees from civil judge (senior division) to the district judge, Varanasi.