The Supreme Court has temporarily stopped a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi until July 26. The survey, conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), aims to determine if the mosque was built on top of a temple. The court granted this halt to allow time for an appeal against the survey. The Allahabad High Court has been directed to hear the appeal before the current “status quo” order expires on Wednesday evening.
At the time of the court’s order, the ASI team was already inside the mosque complex conducting the survey. The Varanasi court had previously instructed the ASI to carry out excavations and other necessary steps to determine the historical background of the mosque’s construction. The Supreme Court has now allowed the petitioners to challenge the district judge’s order in the high court, and the impugned order will not be enforced until July 26.
The bench, consisting of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, directed the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to inform the ASI officials about the court’s order. The plea to stop the ASI work was put forward by senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi on behalf of the mosque committee. Ahmadi argued that the survey was being conducted hastily, without giving enough time for the aggrieved party to file an appeal.