The court of Varanasi's seniormost judge, hearing the Gyanvapi mosque case on orders by the Supreme Court, will pass orders tomorrow on when the fresh hearing will start and the procedure to be followed. The mosque committee wants the "maintainability" case to be heard first, and the court will decide tomorrow if it'll accept that request. In orders passed on Friday, the Supreme Court had asked the Varanasi court to decide on priority whether the survey at the Gyanvapi mosque and the petition that led to the survey was 'maintainable' or not.
The 30-minute long hearing took place at the Varanasi District Judge's court between 2 pm and 3 pm.
"I told the court it is a mandate of the Supreme Court that our application saying the case is not maintainable should be heard first. I read out my application and also the Supreme Court order. The opposing counsel said he needed more documents and time to file objections to our application but I said the maintainability must be decided first ", Abhay Nath Yadav, a lawyer for the Mosque committee told NDTV.
The Supreme Court, hearing a petition challenging the filming of Varanasi's Gyanvapi mosque, had said last week that the case will be heard by an experienced judge in Uttar Pradesh.
"This is a complex and sensitive matter. We think that the suit should be heard by a district judge instead of a trial judge. Because better if a more seasoned hand hears it," the court had said.
The court had also said that "selective leaks" to the press must stop, as Hindu petitioners had released details of the mosque filming report just hours after it was handed over to a Varanasi court in a sealed cover on Thursday.
The Supreme Court had also stressed that the "need for fraternity between communities and need for peace is topmost" for the court.
"We need a sense of balance and calm on the ground. We need a degree of healing touch. We are on a joint mission for preserving a sense of balance in the country," Justice DY Chandrachud had said.
Supreme Court had suggested that if its interim order continues on protecting the supposed 'Shivling' in the mosque then it may ask the Varanasi District Magistrate to make alternative arrangements for Wazu. This after the Muslim side had said that the area being sealed was affecting the practice of Wazu.
Early last week, lawyers representing Hindu petitioners claimed that a 'Shivling' was found during the videography survey of the Gyanvapi mosque-Shringar Gauri complex. The claim was disputed by the mosque committee members who said it was part of the water fountain mechanism in the wazookhana reservoir, used by devotees to perform ritual ablutions before offering namaz. The district court had then ordered the sealing of the ‘wazookhana'.
The Supreme Court had directed the Varanasi court on Tuesday to ensure the protection of the area where the 'Shivling' is claimed to have been found, but without impeding “religious observances”.