Protect shivling, allow namaz: SC

Supreme Court refuses to stay Varanasi lower court proceedings

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the District Magistrate of Varanasi to ensure the protection of the area inside the Gyanvapi mosque where “shivling” is said to have been found in the survey but allowed Muslims to offer “namaz” and perform “religious observances” there without any impediment.

The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and PS Narasimha, however, refused to stay the ongoing proceedings before the lower court.

The bench issued notices to the petitioner’s Hindu devotees and posted the plea of the mosque committee for hearing on May 19.

The bench said it needed to “balance” the rights of contesting parties and clarified that the order of the civil judge (senior division), hearing the plea of petitioner Hindu devotees, directing authorities to ensure the protection of the area would not restrict and impede the rights of Muslim to offer namaz and to perform religious observances.

The petitioner — Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masjid which manages Gyanvapi mosque — repeatedly argued for the stay citing the Places of Worship Act of 1991.