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Court noted that while deciding an application under Order 7 Rule 11 of CPC, only the averments of the plaint must be seen and the defence made in the suit must not be considered, however, if the suit does not disclose a right to sue, the plaint can also be rejected.
A Varanasi Court today dismissed the application moved by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee questioning the maintainability of the suit filed seeking permission to worship Hindu deities allegedly residing inside the Gyanvapi complex.
In the order, Varanasi District and Sessions Judge Dr. A.K. Vishvesha noted that while deciding an application under Order 7 Rule 11 of CPC, only the averments of the plaint must be seen and the defence made in the suit must not be considered.
Therefore, considering the averments made by the plaintiffs in their plaint, the court opined that the suit is not barred by any of the three Acts i.e. the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991; the Waqf Act, 1995 and the Uttar Pradesh Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1983 as alleged by the applicants.
Court held that "at this stage, only the averments made in the plaint are to be seen and plaintiffs will have the right to prove their averments by cogent evidence".
The main contention of the Mosque management committee in the application moved under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure for rejection of the plaint as filed by the plaintiffs were as follows:-
(a) The suit of the plaintiffs is barred by Section 4 of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 (Act no.42 of 1991);
(b) The suit of the plaintiffs is barred by Section 85 of the Waqf Act, 1995 (Act no.43 of 1995);
(c) The suit of the plaintiffs is barred by the Uttar Pradesh Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1983 (Act no.29 of 1983)
Court categorically analised the contentions raised and determined them.
Regarding, the applicants' contention that the suit of the plaintiffs is barred by Section 4 of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, court noted that "from the plain reading of the provisions of Sections 3 & 4 of the said Act, it is clear that the religious character of place of worship as it existed on 15th August 1947 shall remain same and it will not be allowed to be changed".
Court stated that in the plaint, the plaintiff's have made averments that even after 15th August 1947 they were worshiping Maa Srinagar Gauri, Lord Ganesh and Lord Hanuman daily up to the year 1993.
In light of the same, court held, "If this contention is proved then the suit is not barred by Section 4 of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991."
Further, regarding applicant's second contention that the suit is barred by Section 85 of the Waqf Act, 1995, because the subject matter of the suit is a Waqf property and only Waqf Tribunal Lucknow has right to decide the suit, Court held that the bar under Section 85 of the Waqf Act does not operate in the present case because the plaintiffs are non-Muslims and strangers to the alleged Waqf created at the disputed property.
"In the present case, the plaintiffs have claimed relief that they should be allowed to worship the deities of Maa Sringar Gauri and other Gods and Goddesses in the disputed property but such relief is not covered under Sections 33, 35, 47, 48, 51, 54, 61, 64, 67, 72, & 73 of the Waqf Act. Therefore, the jurisdiction of this court to entertain the present suit is not barred," court stated.
Lastly, regarding applicant's third contention that the suit of the plaintiffs is barred by the Uttar Pradesh Sri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1983, court observed that the applicant failed to prove the same.
Court held that "it is clear from Section 4 (5), Section 4 (9), Section 5 and Section 6 of the said Act, that no bar has been imposed by the Act regarding a suit claiming right to worship idols installed in the endowment within the premises of the temple, or outside".
"Therefore, defendant no.4 failed to prove that the suit of the plaintiffs is barred by the U.P. Sri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1988," court stated.
Court, accordingly, while dismissing the mosque management committee's plea, posted the matter on September 22, 2022 for filing written statement and framing of issues in the suit filed by Hindu women devotees.
Five Hindu women devotees filed a suit alleging that Maa Shringar Gauri, Lord Ganesha, Lord Hanuman & other visible and invisible deities reside inside the Gyanvapi Complex, therefore, they should be allowed to perform all rituals of these deities inside the complex all year long.
They also claimed that till 1993, they were allowed to have Darshan and Pooja of Maa Sringar Gauri daily which exists within the property in question at the backside of Gyanvapi in northeast corner but thereafter the District Administration, Varanasi restricted their entry on all days except on 4th day of Chaitra in Vashantik Navaratra.
However, the claim was being contested by the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee which manages the affairs of Gyanvapi mosque and Waqf Board. The mosque committee argued that the suit is not maintainable and moved an application under Order 7 Rule 11 of the CPC.
To read further developments in the case, click here.
Case Title: Rakhi Singh and Ors v. State of UP and Ors.
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