The Varansi Court ruled Monday that a suit seeking the right to worship Hindu deities inside Gyanvapi Mosque Complex is not barred by any provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.
The plaintiffs argued the existence of Hindu deities at the land in dispute and that the principle of “first in existence” or “prior in existence” is relevant in determining the right to worship. Further, they argued that the current deities have been in existence before August 1947 and after independence and were worshipped at the same location even after application of the 1991 Act. The plaintiffs referenced the landmark M Siddiq Vs. Mahant Suresh Das case, popularly known as “Ayodhya Case,” and also presented aguments stating that the property in question is not a Waqf property and a non Waqf property cannot be registered by the Waqf Board.
The defendant, on the other hand, argued that the mosque has been in existence for 600 years on that property and that various religious activities have been conducted without any interventions. Apart from this, it was argued that the building complex is under the control of Masajid Intezamia Committee and governed by UP Sunni Central Board of Waqf, Lucknow.
In the present case, the court decided that the Hindu deities were worshipped inside the masjid complex even after August 15, 1947, until the year 1993 and after restrictions were imposed. Therefore, the 1991 act shall remain inapplicable to the current dispute. It further held that the bar under Section 85 of the Waqf Act is not applicable to the present case as plaintiffs are non-Muslims and claim cannot be covered under Waqf Act. Lastly, held that UP Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1983, cannot prohibit a suit claiming a right to worship idols installed in the endowment within the premises of the temple, or outside. Therefore, the application filed by the Anjuman Islamia Committee was dismissed.