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SC refuses to stop Puja at 'Vyasji Ka Tehkhana' at Gyanvapi mosque

By Jhanak Singh      01 April, 2024 05:28 PM      0 Comments
SC refuses to stop Puja at Vyasji Ka Tehkhana at Gyanvapi mosque

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday declined to stop Hindu side from offering prayers in the southern cellar of the Varanasi's Gyanvapi mosque, known as 'Vyasji Ka Tehkhana'.

The court, however, ordered status quo on any other religious observances in the mosque premises.

Also Read -  SC allows cleaning of the sealed Shivlingam area at Gyanvapi

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra issued notice to the Hindu side on a plea by mosque committee challenging Allahabad High Court order dismissing its appeal against the trial court order allowing the worship.

The court noted that the mosque has entrance on north side for worshippers to enter and offer Namaz while the cellar has separate entrance on south side.

The bench allowed puja in cellar and namaz in mosque to continue for now and put the matter for final hearing in July.

"It is important to maintain the status quo, so that both communities can perform religious worship," the bench said.

For the Muslim side, senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi submitted between 1993 and 2023, there was no 'puja' and the tehkhana was locked. They actually invoked the Places of Worship Act in the suit to contend that the status quo prevailing in 1947 can't be altered.

He said the prayers in mosque take place everywhere, including on the top but now there was an application to stop those prayers.

"Bit by bit, they are ousting us from the mosque," he claimed.

Also Read - Gyanvapi Mosque committee's plea against Hindu prayers in Somnath Vyas ji cellar dismissed by Allahabad HC

The Hindu side led by senior advocate Shyam Divan and advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain defended the High Court's order.

The bench, however, said, “Bearing in mind the fact namaz is being offered unhindered by Muslims, and the puja and worship by Hindu priests is confined to tehkhana, therefore it would be appropriate to maintain the status quo."

In his submission, Ahmadi, representing the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee, said that there was an extraordinary order passed by the trial court and then by the high court, and the effect of the order is to give final relief at the interim stage.

Ahmadi said they have occupied the place and the puja is taking place.

He also questioned the "sudden" insistence for religious performances on this particular site.

The Hindu side had contended that worshipping was carried on in the basement by one Somenath Vyas and his family until November 1993 and that the then Mulayam Singh Yadav government in the state had banned it thereafter.

The district court had on January 31 granted the permission for puja to resume.

In February, this year, the Allahabad High Court subsequently rejected the plea against the district court's order.

"After going through the entire records of the case and after considering arguments of the parties concerned, the court did not find any ground to interfere in the judgement passed by the district judge dated January 17, 2024 appointing DM, Varanasi, as receiver of the property as well as order dated January 31, 2024 by which the district court had permitted Puja in the tehkhana (cellar)," the High Court had said in its order in February. 
 



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