Gyanvapi| Need 3 Months' time to report on safe probe for shivalinga's age: ASI tells Allahabad HC

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The plaintiffs in the suit before the Varanasi Court are seeking scientific investigation of the black stone (alleged Shivlingam) found at Gyanvapi to determine its age, nature and other constituents, employing methods such as Carbon Dating, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and Excavation etc. 

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) earlier this week informed the Allahabad High Court that it requires three months' further time to report about the feasibility of carrying out any kind of safe investigation of the structure (alleged Shivlingam) found at Gyanvapi, for evaluation of its age.

While clarifying that the ASI is not a party to the present revision petition and it has been only asked to report on certain matters as an expert agency, the bench of Justice JJ Munir adjourned the matter by six weeks and posted it on January 18, 2023 for further hearing. 

The court is hearing a civil revision petition filed by the Hindu plaintiffs against the order of District Judge, Varanasi dated October 14, 2022. The district judge had dismissed the Hindu plaintiffs' application seeking scientific probe of the structure.

The district judge had held that since the supreme court had ordered to protect the place where alleged Shivlinga was found, therefore, the plea for its 'scientific investigation' could not be allowed. The judge had also observed that the scientific examination, as sought, may damage the structure.

However, the Hindu plaintiffs moved the high court contending that the said order was bad in law because it was based on a priori reasoning that a scientific investigation of the alleged Shivlingam would lead to its damage.

On May 16, 2022, during a survey by the court-appointed commission, a Shivlinga-like structure was found inside the Wazookhana of the mosque complex. 

On the same day, Civil Judge (Senior Division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar passed an order to seal the disputed site at the complex. Thereafter, the matter reached the top court and a division bench while upholding the order of the Varanasi court to protect the area modified it to the extent that the local court's direction in any manner will not restrain access of Muslims to the mosque or use of it for performing prayers and religious activities.

Subsequently, the Hindu side moved an application seeking scientific investigation of the alleged Shivlinga without causing any damage to the structure.