[Gyanvapi Land Title Dispute] Allahabad High Court reserves verdict

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Before the retirement of Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker, he was re-examining the pleas after they were withdrawn from the bench of Justice Prakash Padia

The Allahabad High Court on Friday reserved the verdict in the pleas pertaining to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi land title dispute.

The bench of Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal reserved the judgment. Earlier the matter was being heard before the bench of Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker (retired) who had decided to reexamine the matter. 

On July 25, the single judge bench of Justice Prakash Padia had reserved the judgment, however, it was withdrawn from his bench,  on the administrative side, by the Chief Justice, for being heard all over again.

The Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker(since retired) had 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 Chief Justice had highlighted that after the cases were heard on several dates, the proceedings were concluded and judgment was reserved in the matter on March 15, 2023 by the bench of Justice Prakash Padia, however, the judgment was not delivered.

"The cases nevertheless continued to be listed before the same court even after the concerned learned Single Judge ceased to have jurisdiction in the matter as per roster," Chief Justice had underscored.

Background of the matter

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.

However, on August 3, the high court dismissed the plea moved by Anjuman Intezamia Mosque Committee, Varanasi against the order of the Varanasi Court passed on July 21 directing the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a survey of Gyanvapi without causing any damage. 

Further details of the matter can be read here.

Case Title: Anjuman Intazamia Masazid Varanasi v. Ist A.D.J. Varanasi And Others and Connected Matters