Gyanvapi: SC refuses stay Hindu side’s prayers in Vyas Tehkhana, orders to maintain status quo

Allahabad HC had permitted prayers by Hindu side in the sealed cellar of Gyanvapi

Gyanvapi mosque Hindu side prayers (File) A priest performs prayers in the basement of Gyanvapi mosque following court orders allowing the resumption of the practice that was discontinued three decades back in Varanasi | PTI

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay prayers of the Hindu side in the sealed cellar of Gyanvapi mosque and ordered to maintain the status quo. Hearing Masjid committee’s plea against the Allahabad High Court’s order, the apex court ordered to maintain the status quo.

The Supreme Court has also sought a response of Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust on the Masjid committee’s plea. The Masjid committee challenged Allahabad High Court’s order upholding a lower court’s decision permitting prayers in the sealed cellar of the Gyanvapi mosque.

The Supreme Court observed that bearing in mind the fact that the ‘namaz’ is offered in Gyanvapi mosque by the Muslim community unhindered after the orders allowing puja inside Tehkhana and the offering of ‘puja’ by Hindu priest is confined to the area of ‘Tehkhana’, it is appropriate to maintain status-quo so as to enable both the communities to offer worships in the above terms, ANI reported. A bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising of justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra also sought a response from priest Shailendra Kumar Pathak Vyas by April 30 on the plea of the mosque committee.

The Allahabad High Court on February 26 had dismissed the committee's plea in which it had challenged the district court's January 31 order allowing Hindus to offer prayers in the cellar.

While dismissing the plea of the mosque committee, the high court had observed that the Uttar Pradesh government's 1993 decision of stopping worship rituals inside the "Vyas Tehkhana"--located at the southern cellar of the Gyanvapi--was "illegal".

-with agency inputs.

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