Varanasi (UP), November 18
The Varanasi District Court on Saturday gave 10 more days to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to submit its scientific survey report of the Gyanvapi mosque complex.
The ASI was earlier given time till November 17, but its counsel sought 15 more days to submit the report.
According to the counsel for the Hindu side Madan Mohan Yadav, the ASI sought more time due to non-availability of the technical report.
While hearing the matter on Saturday, District Judge A K Vishvesh asked the ASI to submit its report by November 28.
The ASI carried out scientific survey of the Gyanvapi premises, located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, to determine whether the 17th century mosque was constructed over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple.
On November 2, the ASI had told the court that it had “completed” the survey but may take some more time to compile the report, along with the details of the equipment used in the survey work. The court then granted additional time till November 17 for submitting the document.
On October 5, the court had granted four more weeks and said that the duration would not be extended beyond this.
On August 4, the court granted the ASI an additional month, extending its original deadline from August 4 to September 4. It provided another four-week extension on September 6.
The survey had begun after the Allahabad High Court upheld a Varanasi district court order and ruled that the step was “necessary in the interest of justice” and would benefit both the Hindu and Muslim sides to the dispute.
During an earlier hearing, the mosque management committee had objected to the survey, alleging that the ASI was digging the basement as well as other places of the mosque complex without permission and accumulating debris on the western wall, posing a risk that the structure might collapse.
The ASI team was not authorised to survey the premises by removing debris or garbage, the mosque panel said.
The Gyanvapi committee had also moved the Supreme Court against the High Court’s order. The apex court had, on August 4, refused to stay the High Court’s order on the ASI survey.
In its order, the bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, however, asked the ASI not to carry out any invasive act during the survey. This ruled out any excavations, which the Varanasi court said could be conducted, if necessary.
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