SC asks Varanasi civil court not to proceed with Gyanvapi hearing till May 20 as counsel indisposed

Gyanvapi Masjid
View of Kashi Vishwanath Temple Dham and Gyanvapi Masjid complex, in Varanasi, Saturday, May 14, 2022. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the civil court in Varanasi to not proceed with hearing the Gyanvapi case till it takes up the matter on Friday.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and PS Narashima was informed by advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain that lead counsel Hari Shankar Jain for the  Hindu devotees in the civil suit in the case is indisposed.

Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain urged the court to take up the matter for hearing on Friday.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, said several applications have been filed across the country to "seal" various mosques and in the Gyanvapi case in Varanasi the hearing is going on and an application has been filed to "demolish" a wall around the wazukhana' (ablution room).

Ahmadi said he cannot oppose adjournment on the grounds of health of a counsel but an undertaking should be given that Hindu devotees will not proceed with the civil court proceedings.

Advocate Vishnu said they are assuring the bench that the Hindu parties would not proceed with the hearing before the civil court at Varanasi. The bench recorded the submission and passed the order asking the civil court to not proceed with the hearing in the case till Friday, when it will hear the matter.

On May 17, the top court had directed the district magistrate of Varanasi to ensure protection of an area inside the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex where a 'Shivling' is said to have been found during a survey and allowed Muslims to offer namaz' and perform religious observances.

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