Next Hearing in Gyanvapi Land Title Dispute Before Allahabad High Court On September 18

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Reexamination of the Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi land title dispute case has recently commenced before the bench of Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker of the Allahabad High Court

The bench of Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker of the Allahabad High Court will hear the pleas pertaining to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi land title dispute next on September 18, 2023. 

The matter was listed before the court on Tuesday. "List this case along with connected cases on 18.9.2023," the Chief Justice's bench ordered.

The matter is being reexamined by the Chief Justice after the judgment in the same had been postponed last month and the cases were withdrawn from the bench of Justice Prakash Padia, on the administrative side, by the Chief Justice, for being heard all over again.

The bench of Justice Padia had reserved the judgment in the matter on July 25 which was scheduled for the pronouncement on August 28, 2023.

However, on August 28, it got listed before the Chief Justice's court. Before the court, the Anjuman Intazamia Masazid Varanasi questioned the propriety on part of the bench to proceed with the hearing of the cases. 

Their argument was that single judge bench of Justice Prakash Padia had heard the matter on approximately 75 dates and thereafter reserved the judgment for pronouncement which was scheduled on August 28, 2023, instead, the cases were withdrawn from the concerned court for being heard all over again.

The Anjuman Intazamia Masazid which manages the affairs of Gyanvapi alleged that this course adopted on the administrative side was against propriety and, therefore, liable to be withdrawn with further directions issued for the cases to be placed before the same bench which had concluded the hearing.

However, the Chief Justice held that there had been jurisdictional impropriety and procedural aberration in the matter when it continued to be listed before the bench of Justice Padia despite the fact that he had ceased to have jurisdiction to hear the pleas after he reserved the judgment in the matter for the first time on March 15, 2023 and did not pronounce the same on the scheduled date. 

"The non observance of procedure in listing of the cases, passing of successive orders for reserving the judgment and again listing the cases before the learned Judge for hearing, though he no longer had jurisdiction in the matter as per the roster, under the directions received from the chamber of learned Judge, without allowing the parent section in the office to have access to the records of these cases are instances of non observance of procedure settled for listing and hearing of cases. It is this concern of propriety which has compelled the Chief Justice to pass following orders on the administrative side on 11.08.2023," he stated about his decision, on the administrative side, to withdrawn the matter from Justice Padia's bench for a fresh nomination.

The Chief Justice also ordered that the objection raised to the proceedings on behalf of Anjuman Intazamia Masazid Varanasi be consigned to records.

It is noteworthy that earlier, on July 25, while reserving the judgment, the bench of Justice Prakash Padia had noted the multiple deferment of the judgment in the matter which has been pending since long.

He had stated that the judgment had been postponed on various occasions due to the need for clarifications from both sides' counsel, leading to further hearings.

However, the final verdict in the matter got further delayed.


Before the Varanasi local court, the Ancient Idol of Swayambhu Lord Vishweshwar and 5 others filed a suit in 1991 seeking removal of the Gyanvapi Mosque and restoration of the land to Hindus.

On April 8, 2021, Civil Judge Senior Division, Varanasi Civil Court allowed the Archeological Survey of India (ASI)  to conduct a comprehensive physical survey of the Gyanvapi mosque adjacent to Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Against this order, Anjuman Intezamiya Masajid Varanasi knocked on the high court's doors, which stayed the proceedings before the lower court including the ASI survey of Gyanvapi. 

The stay on the survey was extended from time to time by the high court and judgment was reserved in the matter on multiple occassions but now the matter is pending before the bench of Chief Justice. 

Meanwhile, in another related matter, 5 Hindu worshippers filed a suit before the local court seeking right to worship Hindu deities already existing inside the Gyanvapi complex. 

In the matter, the Varanasi Court, on July 21, 2023 ordered an ASI survey of the entire Gyanvapi complex except for the Wazukhana area which is currently sealed in pursuance of the Top Court's order. The local court directed the ASI to conduct the survey without damaging any existing structure.

The survey was to be done to determine whether there was any Hindu temple in the past at the disputed site upon which the Gyanvapi mosque was built as a superstructure. 

Against the local court's order, the mosque management committee moved the Supreme Court, which stayed the ASI survey till July 26, 5:00 pm. This gave some breathing time to the mosque side to file an appeal/revision against the local court's order before the high court.

Finally, on August 3, 2023, the bench of Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker gave a green signal to the ASI survey of the Gyanvapi premises. 

Case Title: U.P Sunni Central Waqf Board v. Ancient Idol Of Swayambhu Lord Vishweshwar And 5 Others and Connected matters