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Allahabad HC reserves verdict on Gyanvapi Mosque Committee's appeal against Hindu prayers in Somnath Vyas ji tehkhana

By Shreya Agarwal      15 February, 2024 03:37 PM      0 Comments
Allahabad HC reserves verdict on Gyanvapi Mosque Committee's appeal against Hindu prayers in Somnath Vyas ji tehkhana

PRAYAGRAJ: The Allahabad High Court has reserved its verdict on the Gyanvapi Mosque Committee's appeal against an order allowing Hindus to offer prayers in the Somnath ji tehkhana (cellar) of the present Gyanvapi mosque premises.

Inter alia, the Gyanvapi Mosque Committee represented by Sr. Adv. SFA Naqvi and Adv. Puneet Gupta had pressed before the bench of Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal that the order passed by the Varanasi District Judge:

1. Was influenced by the Hindu plaintiff
2. Was not passed under any provision of the Civil Procedure Code
3. Had effectively allowed the main prayer in the plaint
4. Was passed on an already disposed-off application

Sr. Adv. SFA Naqvi argued that the order allowing puja/ raaj bhog inside the Somnath Vyas ji tehkhana was passed without any cogent reasons, and was merely passed “under the influence of the plaintiff,” as the judge had accepted everything argued by the plaintiff as “the gospel truth”.

"This order (of January 31st) itself reflects that the order was not passed under any provisions of CPC,” Naqvi submitted.

He also questioned as to why there was no written statement filed as to the whereabouts of the person who had “appeared” after 30 years and claimed rights to perform puja inside the tehkhana.

Pointing out that an alleged contradiction in the order of the District Judge, he submitted that while on one hand the Court had observed that the question whether the site was surrendered by the plaintiff or was taken by force, was left open, on the other hand the Judge had effectively allowed the main relief in the plaint by allowing puja in the tehkhana.

Questioning the propriety behind opening an application which had already been disposed of by the District Judge vide its previous order dated January 17, appointing a receiver, the Mosque Committee asked how an order could be again passed on it, on January 31.

Earlier

The Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee (which manages the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi) had moved the Allahabad High Court, challenging a Varanasi District Court's order allowing Hindus to resume prayers in Somnath Vyas ji Tehkhana on the mosque's premises after 31 years.

The matter was reportedly mentioned before Acting Chief Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta by Sr. Adv. SFA Naqvi, who directed Naqvi to move an urgent listing plea before the Registrar Listing.

On January 31, a district court in Varanasi had allowed Hindus to perform puja inside the Somnath Vyas ji tehkhana once again, after a period of 31 years.

Puja at the tehkhana which had been performed by Pujari Shri Vyas ji since during the British-rule in India, was stopped by the Samajwadi Party - BSP government in 1993.

The plaintiff had mentioned in the plea that an idol was worshipped in the tehkhana situated in the south direction of the temple building by Pujari Shri Vyas ji. However, after December 1993, he was banned from entering the barricaded area of ​​the said premise.

The order allowing puja had noted the plaintiff's argument that due to this, rituals like Raaj-Bhog etc. which took place there earlier, also stopped. It was argued that this was established by the fact that on the basis of tradition, Shri Vyas ji occupied the place even during the British rule.

Further, the petitioner had claimed that Pujari Shri Vyas ji performed puja at the premises in question till the month of December 1993, after which the door to the tehkhana was closed.

The order noted the petitioner's argument that very old idols and other puja samagri used by Hindus were also present in the said tehkhana, and stated that it is necessary to worship the idols present in the temple on a regular basis.

However, in 1993, the state government and the district administration had stopped the puja being conducted there without any legal authority, the petitioner had argued.



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