Allahabad High Court rejects mosque committee plea, allows civil suits seeking “restoration of temple” at Varanasi’s Gyanvapi

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In a crucial judgment, the Allahabad High Court today rejected all petitions by the mosque committee in the Gyanvapi case and asked a Varanasi court to complete hearing in the matter within six months.

The case relates to Gyanvapi mosque, located next to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi. A group of Hindu women approached an Uttar Pradesh court in 2021 for permission to worship deities in the Gyanvapi complex. A lower court then asked the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct a video survey of the complex.

The high court was hearing five petitions – three from the Gyanvapi mosque committee and two from Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board. Three of these petitions challenged the maintainability of a suit filed before the Varanasi court in 1991. The 1991 suit, filed on behalf of deity Adi Vishveswar Virajman, had argued that Gyanvapi dispute pre-dated Independence and will not come under the Places of Worship Act, which ensures maintenance of the religious character of places of worship. The mosque committee had challenged this suit.

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