The Varanasi district court on Monday heard arguments on the maintainability of a plea by Hindu women seeking permission for daily prayers before the idols on outer walls of the Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi complex.
The Muslim side argued against the maintainability of the petition, district government counsel Rana Sanjiv Singh said. They argued that the petition is not maintainable as the Places of Worship Act 1991 prohibits conversion of any place of worship and mandates the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947.
The counsel for the Hindu side Vishnu Shankar Jain told reporters that the court has categorically stated that the report on the videography survey of the complex will be made available to all the parties. However, only the court will tell what will be the conditions for this, he said.
Earlier, the Hindu side claimed that a shivling was found in the mosque compound "wazookhana" — a place inside a mosque where people wash hands before offering namaaz — during the videography survey of the compound ordered by a Varanasi court.
Following this, when the matter reached the Supreme Court, it directed the administration on May 17 to protect of the area where shivling was said to have been found and to allow Muslims to offer namaz in mosque premises till the maintainability of the suit is decided by the district judge.
On May 20, the Supreme Court transferred the case from a civil judge (senior division) to a district judge, saying looking at the "complexities" and "sensitivity" of the issue, it is better if a senior judicial officer with an experience of over 25-30 years handles this case.
District Judge AK Vishvesh posted the matter for further hearing on July 4.
(With PTI inputs)