Gyanvapi: Allahabad High Court dismisses Muslim side's plea, Hindu puja to continue in cellar [26.2.2024]

The Allahabad High Court on Monday dismissed the Gyanvapi Mosque committee's appeal challenging the Varanasi district court's decision to offer prayers in a cellar in the Gyanvapi mosque complex. Allahabad High Court Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal delivered the judgement. “After going through the entire records of the case and after considering arguments of the parties concerned, the court did not find any ground to interfere in the judgment passed by the district judge dated 17.01.2024 appointing DM, Varanasi as receiver of the property as well as the order dated 31.01.2024 by which the district court had permitted Puja in the Tehkhana,” Justice Agarwal said while pronouncing its verdict.

The Varanasi court on January 31 had ruled that the Hindu side can offer prayers in the southern cellar of Gyanvapi mosque, also known as 'Vyas Tehkhana'. The court had also directed the district magistrate to make arrangements for 'puja' and a 'pujari' nominated by Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust.

Following this, the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee, which manages Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi, filed a petition with the Allahabad High Court on February 1, challenging the Varanasi court's ruling. This came shortly after the Supreme Court (SC) refused to hear the mosque committee's plea urgently.

Notably, the mosque has four 'tahkhanas' (cellars) in the basement, of which one is still in the possession of the Vyas family, who used to live there.

However, according to the mosque committee, the 'Vyas Tehkhana' was under their possession as being a part of the mosque premises, and the Vyas family or anyone else does not have any right to worship inside the Tehkhana.

Meanwhile, the Hindu side claimed that the Vyas family conducted religious ceremonies in the basement until 1993, but they had to discontinue them in compliance with a directive from the state government.

27 Feb 2024