VARANASI: The Allahabad High Court on Thursday stayed a fast-track court order directing the Archaeological Survey of India to do a physical survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi to know if the mosque was built on the ruins of an old temple. A single-judge bench of Justice Prakash Padia also stayed all proceedings related to the matter in the Varanasi fast-track court.
The bench noted the HC had on March 15 reserved its verdict on petitions related to the same dispute pending before it, but the lower court did not have the “judicial courtesy and decorum” to respect the same.
“It is to be regretted that the court below departed from this traditional way in the present case and chose to examine the question himself… Judicial enthusiasm should not obliterate the profound responsibility that is expected from the Court,” the HC said.
On April 8, 2021, the Varanasi court had directed the ASI director-general to get a comprehensive archaeological survey of the entire Gyanvapi compound done. The order was based on a petition seeking restoration of the mosque land to the Hindus.
The petitioners claimed the mosque was built by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1664 after demolishing a portion of the ancient temple. The matter later reached the Allahabad HC in the form of a writ petition.