Home / News / India /  Gyanvapi Mosque case: The Timeline

The fate of the more than three decades-old issue of the Gyanvapi Mosque case will be decided on Monday when the Varanasi court will pronounce its orders on a plea challenging the maintainability of the suit. The suit seeks the right to worship at the Gyanvapi mosque compound next to Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

Today's decision will be a key factor in deciding whether the suit filed by the five Hindu women seeking the right to worship in the mosque requires judicial intervention or not.

The plea was filed by the Anjuman Islamia Masjid Committee (AIMC), which manages the mosque. The committee has questioned the maintainability of the case citing the Places of Worship Act, 1991. As per the act, the conversion of the religious character of a place of worship, which existed on 15 August 1947 is prohibited.

The fate of this case depends on today's Varanasi court decision. However, it started long ago. Here is a timeline of the case.

Also Read: Gyanvapi Case Verdict Live Updates: Order in Gyanvapi case expected today, security tightened in Varanasi

Timeline of the Gyanvapi Case

1991: Just like the Places of Worship Act, the case also holds back its roots in the year 1991. The first petition in the case was filed by Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar in Varanasi court in 1991. The petition demanded the right to worship in the Gyanvapi complex.

The petitioner had put forward three demands in his petition. It included a declaration of the entire Gyanvapi complex as a part of the Kashi temple, removal of Muslims from the complex area, and demolition of the mosque.

1998: In a fresh case that was filed by Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee in Allahabad High Court, it was asserted that the temple-mosque land dispute could not be adjudicated by a civil court as it was not permissible by the law. As a result, High Court stayed the proceedings in the lower court for 22 years.

2019: The issue was revived when a person named Rastogi filed a plea on behalf of Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar in Varanasi district court demanding an Archeological survey of the entire disputed area. The petitioner attributed himself as the “next friend" of Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar in the petition.

2020: The revival of the issue also encouraged the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee to intervene again to oppose the petition seeking an ASI survey of the entire Gyanvapi complex.

2020: However, the petitioner approached the lower court for the resumption of the hearing of the 1991 petition as the Allahabad High Court had not extended the stay further.

March 2021: The crucial Places of Worship Act 1991, was taken up by a Supreme Court bench headed by the former Chief Justice S A Bobde to examine its substantiality. The bench sought the central government's response to a PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay that questioned the validity of the act.

August 2021: The Gyanvapi mosque case was again in the limelight when five Hindu devotees filed a petition in the Varanasi Court seeking permission to worship deities Hanuman, Nandi, and Shringar Gauri, inside the Gyanvapi complex. The petition also demanded to restrict people from causing damage to the idols.

September 2021: In the judgment given by a single judge bench of Justice Prakash Padia of Allahabad High Court, it was announced that the court should wait for further judgement in the already proceeding cases of the matter. “The court below should not have proceeded and decided the application filed by the plaintiffs in the Original Suit for survey by Archaeological Survey of India. In the opinion of the Court, the Court below should wait for the verdict in the petitions pending before this Court and not proceed further in the matter till the time a judgement is delivered." said the Court.

April 2022: Based on the petition filed in August 2021, the Varanasi court appointed an advocate commissioner and also ordered a videography survey of the complex. The decision was again challenged by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee in the Allahabad High court. But this time, Allahabad High Court upheld the order. Later, the party also filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court.

Also Read: Gyanvapi Mosque: Supreme Court to hear tomorrow plea seeking direction for stay on survey

6 May 2022: The videographic survey of the complex began a day ahead of the filing of an application by the AIMC's advocate alleging the biasedness of the advocate commissioner Ajai Mishra.

12 May 2022: The court refused to remove Ajai Mishra from the post and appointed senior advocate Vishal Singh to supervise the survey. He was appointed as special advocate commissioner. The team was directed to report all the recorded details of the survey by 17 May.

14-19 May 2022: The survey was resumed again and was conducted for two days. All the survey findings were submitted in a report to the court.

20 May 2022: The case proceedings were transferred to a district judge by the Supreme Court. The apex court cited the reason as the involvement of a more ‘seasoned hand’ to deal with the case. The court said that a senior judicial officer with an experience of over 25-30 years could handle the case in a much better way.

26 May 2022: The district court began hearing the maintainability petition of the case. However, the petitioner's side of the argument, that of the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, remained incomplete till that date. This led to further extension of the date of the hearing.

24 August: In the latest hearing, Varanasi district judge Ajai Krishna Vishvesha reserved his order till 12 September. The time was given to both parties to complete their arguments.

 

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