The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL seeking a judicial inquiry about a recently-found structure in the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi by a high court or a Supreme Court judge.
The Lucknow bench of the court comprising justices Rajesh Singh Chauhan and Subhash Vidyarhti passed the order on the plea moved by Sudhir Singh and others.
The bench had, on June 10, expressed reluctance to hear the PIL for want of territorial jurisdiction. It had declined to entertain the PIL and said it would issue a detailed order later.
It was claimed by the Hindu side that a Shivling was found during a videography survey of the Gyanvapi mosque-Shringar Gauri complex.
The claim was disputed by the mosque committee members who said it was part of the water fountain mechanism in the wazookhana reservoir, used by devotees to perform ritual ablutions before offering namaz.
The PIL was filed by Sudhir Singh, Ravi Mishra, Mahant Balak Das, Shivendra Pratap Singh, Markendey Tiwari, Rajiv Rai and Atul Kumar, claiming themselves to be devotees of Lord Shiva.
The petitioners had made the central government, the Uttar Pradesh government and the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) as opposite parties in the matter.
Appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, Chief Standing Counsel (in-charge) Abhinav Narayan Trivedi had vehemently opposed the PIL, arguing that it was not maintainable here as Varanasi falls in the territorial jurisdiction of the Allahabad High Court instead of the Lucknow bench.
He had stressed that since the Supreme Court was already seized of the matter, the same plea cannot be presented here.
The counsel for the central government and the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), S M Royekwar had also opposed the PIL.
Earlier, the petitioners’ counsel Ashok Pandey had submitted that the contested claims over the structure have been leading to disputes between communities not only within the country but across the world.
The petitioners had requested the high court to direct the ASI and the governments to appoint a committee to be headed by a retired or a sitting judge of the Supreme Court or a high court to find out the truth about the structure.