The 'Shivling' was found earlier this year during a video survey carried out in the Gyanvapi temple
The Supreme Court on Friday deferred the scientific survey to determine age of purported 'Shivling' found at Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, underscoring that "we need to tread carefully in this matter".
The top court was hearing a plea challenging the May 12 Allahabad High Court order of conducting a "scientific survey", including carbon dating, to determine the age of the structure.
"Since the implications of the impugned order merit closer scrutiny, the implementation of the directions concerned in the order shall stand deferred till the next date," said the bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud.
The bench also issued notices to the Centre, the Uttar Pradesh government and the Hindu petitioners on the mosque panel's plea against the high court order for the scientific survey and carbon dating of 'Shivling'.
The Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government have both agreed for adjourning the proposed scientific survey of 'Shivling' for the time being.
The 'Shivling' was found earlier this year during a video survey carried out in the Gyanvapi temple complex following the orders of a lower court in Varanasi.
The mosque authorities have objected to a scientific investigation, arguing that the object being called a 'Shivling' is actually a "fountain" for ritual ablutions.
The mosque, located next to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath Temple, has been one of the three temple-mosque rows -- besides Ayodhya and Mathura -- which the BJP raised in the 1980s and 90s, gaining national prominence.
The decades-old legal dispute over the issue was escalated after the Supreme Court's judgment in favour of a temple in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid issue.