On Thursday, the Varanasi district Court asked Gyanvapi mosque management to file objections to a request for carbon-dating a “Shivling”, which was claimed to have been discovered in the shrine complex at the next hearing.
Judge A K Vishesh set September 29th as the next hearing in the case involving the Gyanvapi Mosque-Shringar Gauri dispute.
After rejecting a plea challenging the validity of the petition from September 12, the court resumed hearing the matter on Thursday.
The petition asks for permission to worship the idols of Hindu deities on the outer wall of the mosque every day.
Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain appeared before the court on behalf of plaintiff women. She demanded carbon-dating for the “Shivling”. Rana Sanjeev Singh, district government advocate, said that the judge requested the mosque management to file objections to the plea. She also fixed September 29th as the next hearing date in the matter.
He added that the court refused to entertain the plea of the mosque management for a new hearing 8 weeks after the previous hearing.
Plaintiffs claimed earlier that the Shivling was located near the “wazookhana”, a small reservoir used to perform ritual ablutions and offer namaz on mosque premises. However, the mosque management claimed that it was part the “wazookhana” fountain system.
The court received applications from 15 people to be parties to the dispute. Singh stated that the judge will consider only eight applications, as they were not present at the court.
Five women filed the petition seeking permission to worship idols of Hindu deities on a daily basis on the outer wall of the mosque.
Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee stated that the mosque was a Waqf property. The maintainability of the plea was previously questioned by the committee.
The mosque’s affairs are managed by the committee.
It is situated next to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The case revived claims that the mosque was constructed on an area of the Hindu structure that was demolished by Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor.
The Supreme Court directed the district court first to decide whether the case brought by five Hindu women seeking permission to offer daily prayers to Shringar Gauri idols was still valid.
The mosque committee approached the apex court, asserting that their plea could not be sustained as the Places of Worship Act (Special Provisions Act, 1991 required that such places retain the same character as when they were independent. Only the Ram Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid land dispute was exempted by the 1991 law.