Supreme Court refuses to stay scientific survey of Bhojshala complex

Bhopal Jama Masjid. Photo: IANS.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay the "scientific survey" of the Bhojshala complex, a medieval-era structure that both Hindus and Muslims claim as their own in Madhya Pradesh's Dhar district, but said no action should be taken without its permission on the outcome of the ASI survey.

Hindus consider Bhojshala, an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)-protected 11th-century monument, to be a temple dedicated to Vagdevi (Goddess Saraswati), while the Muslim community call it Kamal Maula Mosque. Under an arrangement made by the ASI on April 7, 2003, Hindus perform puja in the Bhojshala premises on Tuesdays, while Muslims offer namaz in the complex on Fridays.

A bench of Justices Hrishikesh Roy and P K Mishra issued notices to the Centre, Madhya Pradesh government, ASI and others on the plea filed by Maulana Kamaluddin Welfare Society challenging the March 11 order of the MP High Court on scientific survey.

"Issue notice returnable in four weeks. In the interim, no action should be taken without the leave of this court on the outcome of the ordered impugned survey. "It is made clear that no physical excavation should be taken which will change the character of the premises in question," the bench said. 

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