'Ram Janambhoomi case has increased importance of this case': 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 today said that the "present dispute is not a dispute of property simplicitor but it is a national dispute with emotions of milloins of people attached to it."

Before the bench of Justice Prakash Padia, Adv. Rastogi said, "Hindu Community believes that the disputed site is a temple of Lord Vishweshwar where as the Muslim Community believes that the disputed site is a Mosque."

Importantly, he asserted, "The decision in the Ram Janambhumi case has increased the importance of the present case."

Further, in continuation of his earlier arguments, Adv. Rastogi, appearing on behalf of the contesting parties in the plea moved by the Anjuman Intazamia Masazid, Varanasi seeking a stay on the proceedings before the Varanasi court and 4 other connected matters, argued that claim that the character of the disputed land changed when the mosque was constructed is wrong.

He said, "Character of the religious structure is ascertained on the basis of whole property not on the basis of part of property and the religious character of the property cannot be changed mere changing of a part only....when the whole evidence can come only thereafter the religious character of a property would be determined."

Regarding U.P Sunni Central Waqf Board's claim that the disputed property is a waqf property, Rastogi said, "Mere declaration of masque as Waqf Property, the Waqf Act would not be applicable because it is the dispute between Hindus and Muslims and not between two sets of the Muslim Community, therefore, the Waqf Act could not be applicable in this case."

Rastogi also placed submission regarding the dealy that is being caused in deciding the original suit filed before the Local Court in Varanasi seeking removal of the Gyanvapi Mosque and restoration of the land to Hindus

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