A hearing on the Gyanvapi complex case will be held January 3 at 2:30 pm in the Varanasi District Court after lunch. Today the District Court will decide whether the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) survey report has to be given to the plaintiffs and advocates or not, and whether the ASI survey report will remain sealed or unsealed.
Hindu Side Advocate Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi said, “The report of the survey of Gyanvapi which was done by the ASI has been submitted in a sealed envelope. We had appealed to the court that the report should not be submitted in a sealed envelope. The Muslim side appealed that it should be in a sealed envelope and the proceedings should be done secretly in the matter as it is a sensitive matter. Now the court will decide today whether the report should be made public or not…”.
#WATCH | Varanasi: On Gyanvapi Case, Hindu Side Advocate Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi says, "The report of the survey of Gyanvapi which was done by the ASI has been submitted in a sealed envelope. We had appealed to the court that the report should not be submitted in a sealed… pic.twitter.com/En2dLmKF2O
— ANI UP/Uttarakhand (@ANINewsUP) January 3, 2024
The ASI team had surveyed the Gyanvapi complex for 92 days, said Anupam Dwivedi a lawyer from the Hindu side.
“The survey report by ASI was very bulky. He has submitted the report in a sealed cover. Anjumani Tajamiya said that the application was filed and said that it should be kept secret… This is not an in-camera proceeding and is not a secret proceeding, hence it should be kept from coming in front of the public or in any way. Stopping it is against the essence of the Supreme Court’s judgment and our right to information,” another lawyer from the Hindu side, Anupam Dwivedi said.
The Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee on December 21 also asked the Court not to give the ASI report to any party to which the Hindu side is objecting. Hindu side lawyer Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi said that the Supreme Court in its order dated 4 August stated that the report will not be filed in a sealed envelope.
“An application of the Muslim side is also before the Court that the report be filed in a sealed envelope and this be not disclosed in the public domain until the report is disposed, we objected to it on 18th December and mentioned that the Supreme Court in its order stated that the report be not filed in a sealed envelope. So, the Court had given today’s date and the hearing will be taken up today. It will be heard if the report will be submitted in an open or sealed envelope,” Hindu side lawyer Advocate Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi said.
On December 18, the sealed survey report was submitted by the ASI team to the District Court.
Anjuman Arrangement Masjid Committee i.e. the Muslim side had given an application in the court, in which it is said that the survey report should be kept secret and should not be given to any parties, even if the court gives the ASI report to any advocate or litigant, it should be given with an undertaking.
The objection has been filed from the Hindu side saying that the ASI survey is not in camera or secret processing, and under Right to Information we also have the right to know the report.
Earlier, Hindu side lawyer Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain claimed that the survey report being presented in a selaed envelope is a “violation of the Supreme Court order” and said that the Hindu side has filed an application in the district court and sought a copy of the report.
“We have moved an application before the district court that we must be supplied a copy of the report, and there cannot be a gag order on the media that you cannot talk about this report. If the district court does not pass an order, which is in consonance with the law, we’ll file an appeal before the Supreme Court,” he said.
Notably, the ASI team conducted a survey the Gyanvapi complex for 92 days and submitted the sealed survey report to the court. Earlier, in August this year, the Allahabad High Court allowed the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct a survey the Gyanvapi complex in Varanasi.
A structure — claimed to be a “Shivling” by the Hindu side and a “fountain” by the Muslim side — was found in the complex premises on May 16, 2022, during a court-mandated survey of the complex located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
The ‘Wazu’ area of the Gyanvapi complex is the centre of the Gyanvapi complex-Kashi Vishwanath temple dispute between Hindus and Muslims parties in the case since the Hindu parties claim that ‘Shivling’ has been found in that spot, however, the Muslim side disputed the same and said that it is only a water fountain.
(with inputs from ANI)