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SC to hear Gyanvapi mosque case today


The Supreme Court will on Tuesday hear a plea by the Gyanvyapi masjid committee against two suits which have sought to reopen the issue of the ownership of the mosque, adjoining the Kashi Vishwanath temple, as in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case in Ayodhya.

A bench led by Justice Chandrachud and comprising Justice PS Narasimha will hear the case.

The top court had in the Ayodhya ruling in 2019 handed over all the land in and around the Babri masjid, which was demolished in 1992, to the Hindus for building a Ram Janmabhoomi temple and had ordered that alternate land be given elsewhere to the Muslims to build a mosque.

The ruling was supposed to bring a quietus to the issue which had inflamed passions in the country.

The SC bench led by ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi had then cited the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, with approval. The Act freezes ownership issues of places of religious worship as they existed in 1947.

So, a place belonging to the Hindus or a temple was to remain a temple if it has been a temple in 1947 and a place was to remain a mosque if it was a mosque in 1947. The Ayodhya case, the court had then suggested, would not be a precedent for reopening ownership issues in other places.

The Worship Act itself has been challenged in the top court by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay. Yet another plea was filed by Subramanian Swamy. Notices have been issued in the pleas but the issue is yet to be adjudicated on merit.

In the Gyanvapi case, the first suit reopening the ownership issue was filed in 1991. A lower court asked the ASI to survey the mosque complex but that was also stayed by the Allahabad High Court in 2021.



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