Gyanvapi Mosque dispute: SC asks Mosque committee to move Allahabad HC in a plea against January 31 order allowing Hindu devotees to worship

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Today, the Supreme Court (SC) of India refused to hear a plea by the Gyanvapi Mosque committee against the decision of the Varanasi district judge permitting Hindu devotees to worship (puja) before idols at the cellar inside the mosque in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. While refusing to urgently hear the matter, the bench told the Muslim side to approach the High Court of Allahabad for the same. On January 31, 2024 (yesterday), the District Court passed the order which allowed Hindus to offer prayers in the Southern cellar (‘Vyasji Ka Tehkhana’) of the Gyanvapi mosque. After a few hours of the decision, the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee filed an urgent application and sought the status quo at the mosque site. 

The committee, represented by Advocate-on-Record Ahmad Ayyubi, explaining the urgency of the situation wrote in the letter that “It is submitted that under the garb of the order dated 31.01.2024, the local administration, in hot haste, has deployed a massive police force on site and is in the process of cutting the grills located in the southern side of the mosque so as to create an entrance therefrom into the mosque premises to allow puja in the basement of the mosque. This action is against the letter and spirit of the orders passed by this Hon’ble Court on 17.05.2022 and 20.05.2022 in SLP.” 

It further reads, “There is no reason for the administration to undertake this task in hot haste in the dead of the night as the order by the Trial Court had already given them one week to make the necessary arrangements. The obvious reason for such unseemly haste is that the administration in collusion with the plaintiffs is trying to foreclose any attempt by the Mosque Managing Committee to avail of their remedies against the said order by presenting them with a fait accompli.” After hearing the matter, the SC asked the committee to approach the High Court of Allahabad.