A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud on Thursday took note of the submissions of advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, appearing for some Hindu devotees, and said the order granting protection was expiring on November 12.
“We will constitute a bench at 3 pm tomorrow,” the CJI said.
The top court, on May 17, had passed an interim order directing protection of the area inside Gyanvapi premises at Varanasi.
The suit was filed on May 24 in the Varanasi district court by plaintiff Kiran Singh, general secretary of the Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh, asking for a ban on Muslim entry into the Gyanvapi complex, the transfer of the complex to the Sanatan Sangh, and authorization to offer prayers at the “Shivling.”
On May 25, district court Judge A K Vishvesh had ordered the transfer of the suit to a fast track court.
Varanasi district magistrate, police commissioner, Anjuman Intezamia Committee that is managing the Gyanvapi mosque, and Vishwanath Temple Trust were made respondents in the suit.
On April 26, a lower court (civil judge-senior division) ordered a videographic survey of the Gyanvapi complex after receiving a request from a group of women seeking permission for daily worship of Hindu gods on the mosque’s outer walls. The Hindu side claimed a “Shivling” was discovered during the exercise.
The Muslim side, on the other hand, has insisted that the item was a component of the water fountain system at the “wazookhana” reservoir, where devotees bathe before performing “namaz.”
On May 20, the Supreme Court ordered that the case be transferred from a civil judge (senior division) to a district judge because it would be preferable for a senior judicial officer with at least 25 to 30 years of experience to handle it due to the “complexities” and “sensitivity” of the matter.
Another case requesting a survey of confined underground spaces in the Gyanvapi grounds is being heard by District Judge A K Vishwesh. On November 11, this case will be heard.