Gyanvapi mosque case will be heard by 'more experienced' UP judge, orders Supreme Court
Varanasi/IBNS: Claims of Hindu relics being found inside Varanasi's Gyanvapi Mosque will be heard by a "more experienced" judge in Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court ordered on Friday.
The court hearing the case so far will no longer be in charge.
It would be "better if a more seasoned hand hears the case," said the judges, stressing the need for "a healing touch and a sense of balance".
"Keeping the complexity and sensitivity of the matter in view, the civil suit before the civil judge in Varanasi shall be heard before a senior and experienced judicial officer of the UP judicial service," the Supreme Court ruled.
The "need for fraternity between communities and the need for peace is topmost" for the court, said the judges.
Varanasi's seniormost judge will now hear the petition of five women who requested access to worship what they claim are idols of Hindu gods and goddesses inside the complex.
The report of the videography of the mosque was submitted in the court on Thursday, a copy of which was shared by the lawyers of the petitioners hours later.
The report shared by the petitioners to the media states symbols of a "Trishul" or trident, lotus engravings and ancient Hindi carvings have been found in the video survey of the mosque complex that exits right next to the iconic Kashi-Vishwanath temple.
Claims of a "Shivling" had already been made public earlier and the official who was responsible for the survey was sacked over the leak to the media, allegedly by a "personal cameraman" hired by him.
The pillars in the basement of the mosque bear engravings of flowers and a 'kalash' (pitcher) while carvings in "ancient Hindi language" have been found on a pillar, said the report.
The team found two large pillars and an arch protruding from the western wall of the mosque which petitioners call remnants of temples.
A round structure of 2.5 feet in height has been noticed in the pond in the mosque complex used for "Wazoo" (purification ritual before namaaz), which petitioners call a "Shivling". However, the mosque committee says it was a fountain.
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, extended its interim order on protecting the "Shivling" area without stopping Muslims from praying at the mosque. It also asked the city to make arrangements for the Wazoo ritual, with the pond currently sealed.
The apex court also admonished the "selective leaks" to the press and said they must stop.
This comes after Hindu petitioners released details of the mosque filming report just hours after it was handed over to a Varanasi court in a sealed cover on Thursday.
"Selective leaks must stop. Things being leaked into the press. It was to be submitted in court. The court has to open it," Justice DY Chandrachud said.