On May 22, the Muslim side submitted an application to the Varanasi Court claiming that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was not cruel. The Muslim side filed the application opposing the Hindu side’s plea seeking an ASI survey of Gyanvapi premises.
“Neither Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was cruel, nor did he demolish any Lord Adi Vishweshwar Temple in Varanasi,” said the application. The Muslim side denied the averments claiming Muslim invaders attacked and destroyed the Bhagwan Adi Vishweshwar Temple, which was later restored by Raja Tondal Mal at the same place in 1580 AD. The application submits that there is no concept of two Kashi Vishwanath temples in Varanasi.
Furthermore, the Muslim side has also objected to the reference to Muslim rulers as invaders, claiming that it was made with the aim to create hatred between Hindus and Muslims.
“The structure or building which is present on the spot, Masjid Alamgiri / Gyanvapi Masjid, has been there for thousands of years, it was a mosque yesterday and is still a mosque, and the Muslims of Varanasi and neighbouring districts, as a matter of right, without any restrictions, have been offering Namaz Panjgana and Namaz Zuma and Namaz Idaan,” the application stated.
The Muslim side also reiterated its claim that the ‘Shiva Linga’ found inside the Wazukhana is a fountain instead. The application prays that the Hindu side’s plea for an ASI survey of the Gyanvapi premises is rejected, as it can be ascertained from photographs that the disputed structure is a Mosque. Furthermore, the application claims that the collection of evidence by a commission or through a scientific probe is impermissible under law.
District Court Consolidates All Cases Concerning Gyanvapi Dispute
On May 23, Varanasi Court allowed an application seeking the consolidation of 8 suits concerning the Gyanvapi dispute pending before various courts. District Judge Ajaya Krishna Vishvesha observed that all these cases must be consolidated and tried together. Therefore, all cases concerning the Gyanvapi dispute will be heard together by a District Judge’s court.
“I am of the opinion that it will be expedient in the interest of justice that all the suits mentioned above…should be tried together and may be consolidated and all these suits and proceedings shall be decided upon the evidence in any of such suits or proceedings,” the judge said.
The application for consolidation of similar cases was moved urging the court to consolidate the cases in order to save public time and money and avoid difficulties of legal nature.
Furthermore, the court said that the case of Rakhi Singh and others Vs State of UP and others “shall be the leading case and evidence shall be recorded in the leading case.” In the Rakhi Singh case, the plaintiffs are seeking the right to worship Bhagwan Shringar Gauri and other deities in the Gyanvapi Mosque compound.
The court also noted the Supreme Court’s order dated November 11, 2022, wherein the top court observed that it would be open to the District Judge to determine whether the consolidation of suits concerning the Gyanvapi dispute is warranted if an application is made before the judge concerning similar suits. It is pertinent to note that out of the consolidated cases, six cases are pending before the court of civil judge (senior division) and one is pending before the fast-track court of the civil judge (senior division).
Shreeyash Mittal is a Correspondent with Organiser Weekly. He is a BBA-LLB (Hons) graduate from Jindal Global Law School.