Varanasi: A Varanasi District Court on Monday in a key ruling in the ongoing Gyanvapi Mosque case said a plea seeking daily prayer at Maa Shringar Gauri Sthal inside the complex was not barred for hearing by any Act as claimed by the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee.
District Judge Dr Ajay Krishna Vishvesha in his order said, “The counsel for the defendant number 4 (Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee) argued that the suit of the plaintiffs is barred by the Uttar Pradesh Sri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1983.”
Citing the provisions of the Act, the District Judge in his order said, “In my view, the defendant number 4 failed to prove that the suit of the plaintiffs is barred by the U.P. Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1983. Section 5 of the Act declares that the ownership of the temple and its endowment shall vest in the deity of Shri Kashi Vishwanath.”
“Section 6 of the Act provides that with effect from the appointed date, the administration and governance of the Temple and its endowments shall vest in a Board to be called the Board of Trustees for Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple,” it further stated.
The court said, “In Section 4 (5) endowment includes all properties, movable or immovable, belonging to or given or endowed for the support or maintenance or improvement of the Temple or for the performance of any worship, service, ritual, ceremony or other religious observance in the Temple or any charity connected therewith and includes the idols installed therein, the premises of the Temple and gifts of property made or intend to be made for the Temple or the deities installed therein to any one within the precincts of the Temple.”
It said, “In Section 4 (9), ‘Temple’ has been defined as the Temple of Adi Visheshwar, popularly known as Sri Kashi Vishwanath Temple, situated in the City of Varanasi which is used as a place of public religious worship, and dedicated to or for the benefit of or used as of right by the Hindus, as a place of public religious worship of the Jyotirlinga and includes all subordinate temple, shrines, sub-shrines and the Asthan of all other images and deities, mandaps, wells, tanks and other necessary structures and land appurtenant thereto and additions which may be made thereto after the appointed date.”
It said from the perusal of above mentioned provisions of the Act, it is clear that no bar has been imposed by the Act regarding a suit claiming right to worship idols installed in the endowment within the premises of the temple, or outside. “Therefore, defendant number 4 failed to prove that the suit of the plaintiffs is barred by the UP Sri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1983,” it added.
The District Judge observed, “In view of the above discussions and analysis, I have come to the conclusion that the suit of the plaintiffs is not barred by the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, The Waqf Act 1995 and the UP Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1983 and the application 35C filed by the defendant number 4 is liable to be dismissed.”
The court also observed that in the present case, the plaintiffs have claimed relief that they should be allowed to worship the deities of Maa Shringar Gauri and other Gods and Goddesses in the disputed property but such relief is not covered under sections of the Waqf Act. “Therefore, the jurisdiction of this court to entertain the present suit is not barred,” it said.
The District Judge said, “Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that the bar under Section 85 of the Waqf Act does not operate in the present case because the plaintiffs are non-Muslims and strangers to the alleged Waqf created at the disputed property and relief claimed in the suit is not covered under sections of the Waqf Act. Hence, suit of the plaintiffs is not barred by Section 85 of the Waqf Act 1995.”
He ordered that the application 35C filed by the defendant number 4 under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC is hereby dismissed. “Fix September 22 for filing written statement and framing of issues. The applications pending under Order 1 Rule 10 CPC by different applicants will also be disposed of on this day,” he said.