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The plaintiffs in the suit before the Varanasi Court are seeking a scientific investigation of the black stone (alleged Shivlingam) found at Gyanvapi to determine its age, nature, and other constituents.
Acceding to the request made by the counsel for the Archaeological Survey of India, the Allahabad High Court on Thursday allowed eight weeks further time to ASI to file its report about the feasibility of a safe investigation of the alleged Shivlingam found at Gyanvapi, for evaluation of its age.
The bench of Justice J.J. Munir, accordingly, posted the matter on March 20, 2023, for further hearing. Moreover, the court asked the trial court to fix a date in the suit pending before it after the said date.
The high court is currently seized with a revision petition moved by the Hindu plaintiffs against the order of District Judge, Varanasi dated October 14, 2022 whereby the judge had dismissed their application seeking a scientific probe of the Shivlingam-like structure.
The district judge had held that since the Supreme Court had ordered to protect the place where alleged Shivlingam 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.
It is the Hindu plaintiffs' claim that the structure found inside the Wazookhana of the mosque complex is a Shivalingam, however, the claim is being contested by the Muslim side who argue that it is actually a non-functioning old fountain.
Against the decision of the Varanasi District Judge, 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 Shivling-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 Shivlingam.
Case Title: Laxmi Devi And 3 Ors. v. State Of U.P Thru Principal Sec.(Civil Sec.) Lko. Nd 5 Ors.
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