Allahabad HC reserves order on plea against allowing puja in cellar of Gyanvapi complex

Prayagraj, Feb 15 (UNI) The Allahabad High Court on Thursday reserved its judgement on the appeal challenging the validity of the Varanasi District Judge’s order for permitting ‘puja’ in the cellar on the south side of the Gyanvapi complex.

The order was reserved by the court of Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal after hearing the arguments of both the sides on the appeals challenging two orders of the Varanasi court filed on behalf of the Committee Of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Varanasi.

On behalf of the Committee, Senior Counsel SFA Naqvi assisted by Puneet Gupta argued that giving final relief through an interim order without determining the rights in the civil suit filed demanding the right to worship is a violation of the legal procedure. It was argued that the District Judge himself has given two contradictory orders.

It was argued that in exercise of the inherent power of Section 152 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the court cannot order a change in the nature of the original order. It was stated that only one demand to appoint the District Magistrate as the receiver was considered in the original order.

It was argued that the right to worship has been given only on verbal request without any application. The court has not mentioned in the order how to exercise its inherent power. The district court accepted the application on January 17 and gave only one relief by not passing an order on the second demand which will be considered as denial of relief.

It was said that by the original order of January 17 the District Judge has also given instructions to protect and maintain the disputed building and not to allow any kind of change to be made and by the order of January 31 the barricading should be cut and a door for worship in the basement should be made.

It was argued that the District Judge made a mistake by giving final relief through an interim order, therefore his orders of the District Judge should be cancelled.

Counsels of the defendants Shailendra Kumar Pathak Vyas and another, Vishnu Shankar Jain, Hari Shankar Jain, senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan presented their side. They said that the court has the inherent right to give orders in the interest of justice under Sections 151 and 152.

They argued that after bringing it to the notice of the plaintiff advocate, the court has accepted the missed prayer. Instead of the plaintiff, the court has ordered the trust to conduct the puja through a priest. Rights have been restored.

The counsel argued that the plaintiff has been offering prayers in the basement of Vyas ji for years. In the year 1993, after the demolition of the disputed structure of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi, worship in the basement was banned without any order due to barricading of Gyanvapi with an iron fence. The court has not given any new rights.

Advocate General Ajay Kumar Mishra, Chief Standing Advocate Kunal Ravi and Hare Ram Tripathi presented the case on behalf of the state government. The AG said that it is the responsibility of the state government to maintain law and order. It is the responsibility of the government to implement the court order.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer CS Vaidyanathan presented arguments for about 40 minutes. He said that the basement is situated on the right side of Gyanvapi, where Hindus were worshipping till the year 1993.

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