The Allahabad High Court has set a six-month deadline for the conclusion of proceedings in a Varanasi court concerning a 1991 suit initiated by Hindu plaintiffs to claim possession of the Gyanvapi Complex. The court dismissed five petitions filed by the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board and the mosque committee. It ruled that the 1991 original suit is not prohibited by the provisions of The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.
Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal emphasised the national significance of the dispute and clarified that the Places of Worship Act, 1991, does not prohibit these civil suits.
Here are some key points front yesterday’s Judgement
- Suit No.610 of 1991 is not barred by provisions of Section 4 of Act of 1991, and the plaint cannot be rejected under Order 7 Rule 11 C.P.C.
- What will be the religious character of the disputed place can only be arrived by the competent Court after the evidences are led by the parties to the suit.
- The Act only bars conversion of place of worship, but it does not define or lays down any procedure for determining the religious character of place of worship that existed on 15.08.1947.
- The Gyanvapi Compound can’t have dual character. It either has a Hindu religious character or a Muslim religious character which has to be ascertained by the Court considering pleadings of the parties, and evidences led in support of pleadings.
- More than 32 years have passed since filing of Original Suit No. 610 of 1991, and only issues have been framed after filing of written statement by defendants. Proceedings remained pending for almost 25 years on the strength of interim order granted by this Court on 13.10.1998.
- The suit is of vital national importance. It is not a suit between the two individual parties. It affects two major communities of the country.
- It is required in the national interest that the suit must proceed expeditiously and decided with utmost urgency with the cooperation of both the contesting parties without resorting to any dilatory tactics.
- Court directed the trial Court to proceed with the matter expeditiously and conclude the proceedings of Original Suit No.610 of 1991 preferably within a period of next six months. The Court below shall not grant unnecessary adjournment to either of the parties. In case adjournment is granted, it will be at heavy cost.
Judgement on ASI survey
- As the scientific survey is already being conducted by ASI in Original Suit No.18 of 2022, ASI has been directed to submit the same report in Suit No.610 of 1991.
- High Court further directed that and in case it is found that further survey is required, which have been left out in the survey conducted by ASI, the Trial Court shall issue necessary directions to carry out further survey in terms of order dated 08.4.2021.