The Supreme Court on Friday transferred the civil suit filed by Hindu devotees on Gyanvapi mosque from civil judge (senior division) to district judge of Varanasi, citing its complexities and sensitivity and saying it is better for a senior judicial officer to handle it.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant, and PS Narasimha said that it is not casting any aspersion on the civil judge (senior division) who was earlier dealing with the suit.
The apex court directed the district judge to first decide the application under Order 7 Rule 11 of CPC (on maintainability) filed by the Mosque committee saying the civil suit is barred by a law of Parliament be decided upon the transfer of papers from the civil judge (senior division).
The top court said that its earlier interim order of May 17 directing protection of the area where "shivling" is said to be found and allowing Muslims to offer "namaz" in mosque premises shall remain in operation till the maintainability of the suit is decided by the district judge and thereafter for eight weeks to allow the aggrieved parties to approach the higher court.
The bench also directed the district magistrate to make adequate arrangements for "wazu" (ablution) for the Muslims coming for offering Namaz in the mosque in consultation with the parties involved in the dispute.
The Gyanvapi mosque is located close to the Kashi Vishwanath temple. A Varanasi civil court had ordered the survey of the mosque complex while hearing a petition by five Hindu women seeking permission for daily prayers before the idols on its outer walls.
Madan Mohan Yadav, an advocate of the Hindu side, claimed on Monday that the survey team found a "shivling" in the complex near "wazookhana" — a place inside a mosque where people wash hands before offering namaaz.
(With PTI inputs)