Let there be no invasive work by ASI at Gyanvapi Mosque premises, says SC

The Court also agreed to hear the mosque panel's plea at 2 pm.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court ordered on Friday that no invasive work would be undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to determine if the Gyanvapi mosque located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi was built upon a temple and agreed to hear a plea moved by the mosque committee during the day.

A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud took note of the submissions made by senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, who appeared in the court on behalf of the mosque committee, that the matter be heard urgently.

The top court asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was representing the Uttar Pradesh government, to inform the ASI team that there should not be any “invasive work” or excavation at the site.

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“We will hear it (the plea) at 2 pm,” the bench said.

A Varanasi court directed the ASI on Friday to conduct a “detailed scientific survey” — including excavations, wherever necessary — to determine if the mosque was built at a place where a temple existed earlier.

The mosque’s “wazookhana” (a small reservoir for Muslim devotees to perform ritual ablutions), where a structure claimed by the Hindu litigants to be a “Shivling” exists, will not be part of the survey, following an earlier Supreme Court order protecting that spot in the complex.

District judge A K Vishvesh has directed the ASI to submit a report to the court by August 4, along with video clips and photographs of the survey proceedings.

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