Land belongs to 'self-manifested' lord, Aurangzeb never had any right: Argument before Allahabad High Court in Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi dispute case(s)

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In the ongoing hearing before the Allahabad High Court in the case(s) related to the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque dispute of Varanasi, Adv. Vijay Shankar Rastogi, the appointed next friend of Lord Vishweshwar, today argued that the land in question belongs to the 'Swayambhu' lord since always, therefore, Aurangzeb never had any right over it.

Before the bench of Justice Prakash Padia, Adv. Rastogi pressed the argument that an archeological survey of the land in question is necessary as the evidence of an ancient temple, which was razed by the Mughal ruler, lies beneath the existing mosque structure.

He said that the matter is similar to the Ramjanmbhoomi case wherein also the evidence of the old temple was found beneath the surface. Therefore, stating that the land in question is the property of 'Self-manifested' Lord Vishweshwar, Rastogi contended that if the Waqf Board wants to press the claim that the land is a waqf property, then it is only for the Waqf Board to bring the alleged pre-independence government survey record before the Court whereby the State had allegedly identified the land as Waqf property.

Further, Adv. Punit Kumar Gupta appearing for the U.P Sunni Central Waqf Board submitted before the bench that the land in question was registered as the Waqf property on February 26, 1944, following a State Survey, which the State does for the purpose of identifying Waqf properties. 

He added that thrice, in the years 1936, 1954, and 1960, the disputed property was identified as waqf property by the State Government. 

To this, Court remarked that all relevant documents should come on record and adjourned the hearing till April 28th. Rastogi will continue his argument on the next date. 

Background of the matter

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

Notably, the proceedings in this suit before the Varanasi local court have already been stayed by the high court. The lower court order whereby the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was directed to conduct a survey of the Mosque complex has also been stayed.

The same bench had held in September 2021 that the court below should wait for the verdict in the petitions pending before the High Court and not proceed further in the matter till the time a judgment is delivered. Five matters involving the same issue have been clubbed by the high court and are being beard together.

Case Title: Anjuman Intezamiya Masajid Varanasi v. Ancient Idol Of Swayambhu Lord Vishweshwar And 5 Others and connected matters