Gyanvapi Mosque Case: What is the original suit from 1991?



Gyanvapi Mosque Case: What is the suit from 1991 and why was it brought back?

The UP Sunni Central Waqf Board and the Gyanvapi mosque committee filed five petitions. Still, the Allahabad High Court dismissed…

Gyanvapi Mosque Case: What is the suit from 1991 and why was it brought back?

The UP Sunni Central Waqf Board and the Gyanvapi mosque committee filed five petitions. Still, the Allahabad High Court dismissed them on Tuesday, December 19. The court held that the Places of Worship Act does not bar the 1991 lawsuit regarding the Varanasi mosque.

The original 1991 lawsuit, Ancient Idol of Swayambhu Lord Vishweshwar and others vs Anjuman Intezamia Masajid and others was contested as unmaintainable by the Waqf Board and the Gyanvapi mosque committee, who claimed the Places of Worship Act prohibited them from continuing. This lawsuit is distinct from the one brought by Rakhi Singh and associates, in which the Archaeological Survey of India provided the Varanasi district court with a 1500-page report on Monday.

Gyanvapi Mosque: What is the original suit of 1991?

The 1991 title suit was filed in a Varanasi court. The petition asked the court to rule that the adjoining portion of Lord Vishweshwar’s “old temple,” the “structure” (mosque) atop the cellars (taikhana), and a few other structures belong to Lord Vishweshwar and his followers.

The plea asserts that Hindus have every right to use the land as a place of worship and to restore and rebuild their temple, claiming that the Muslim community had illegally occupied it. Additionally, it stated that the Waqf Board and the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee, the defendants, have no title, interest, or right of any kind and that the defendants’ representation of the entire Muslim community does not grant them the right to occupy the building.

In addition, the 1991 lawsuit requested that the defendants “remove its effects” from the subject property and turn over ownership “over the said structures to the plaintiffs.”

Additionally, it states that “an ancient temple of Lord Vishweshwar together with four Mandaps and its ruins Gyankoop, Mukti Mandap is surrounded by old boundary wall containing the entire property of the Gyanvapi compound forming settlement Plot No. 9130, 9131 and 9132 measuring 1 Bigha, 9 Biswa and 6 Dhoor.”

How is the suit being revitalized now?

In the case of Asian Resurfacing of Road Agency P Ltd Director vs CBI, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court decided in 2018 that interim orders of stay issued by courts other than the SC will automatically expire after six months unless they are specifically extended.

The decision aimed to prevent undue delays in criminal and civil trials due to an indefinite stay. A larger five-judge bench is currently reviewing this decision because multiple cases of injustice have been observed when the stay is automatically lifted.

The Muslim side’s rebuttal

The petitioners “have every right to offer their prayer in temple in question and are neither debarred nor anybody has stopped them to perform religious rites inside the temple,” according to attorneys representing the mosque committee and the Sunni Waqf Board.

The Places of Worship Act of 1991 was enacted, according to the lawyers, with the “purpose to foreclose any controversy in respect of any places of worship.” Senior Advocate SFA Naqvi argued in court that the Act was created by Parliament using constitutional procedures and operates within the bounds of the Indian Constitution.

“The Mosque cannot be transformed into a temple, which would violate Section 4 of the Act of 1991, since it is a place of worship for Muslims and has been used for Namaz since August 15, 1947,” Naqvi told the court. The mosque is situated on plot no. 9130.

What is stated in the 1991 Places of Worship Act?

According to the Places of Worship Act, every place of worship must preserve its religious identity, as it did on August 15, 1947. The lengthy title explains that it is “An Act to prohibit conversion of any place of worship and to provide for the maintenance of any place of worship’s religious character as it existed on August 15, 1947, and for matters incidental or connected thereto.”

A place of worship of any religious denomination cannot be entirely or partially converted into a place of worship of a different religious denomination or even into a different branch of the same religious denomination, according to Section 3 of the Act.