The Allahabad High Court on Thursday decided to hold regular hearings from March 29 in the matter related to decades-old Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque dispute of Varanasi.

The order was passed by Justice Prakash Padia, who was hearing a petition filed by Anjuman Intazamia Masazid, Varanasi.

The Court has already stayed a Varanasi court order directing the Archaeological Survey of India to do a physical survey of the premises to determine if the mosque was built on the ruins of a Hindu temple.

On Wednesday, the Counsel for the central government had said that on the basis of pleadings in the suit, the issues were framed and the trial Court proceeded in the matter.

It was further argued that it was clear from the averments of the plaint that the property in question, the temple of Lord Visheshwar, has been in existence since ancient times and Swayambhu Lord Visheshwar is situated in the disputed structure, therefore, the aforesaid land in dispute is itself an integral part of Lord Visheshwar temple.

It was argued that irrespective of the temple's shape and size, the ground floor cellar is still in the possession of the plaintiff which is the structure of an old temple built prior to the 15th century and the religious character of the place of worship remained the same as on August 15, 1947, therefore, the provisions of Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 cannot be applied.

However, due to paucity of time, the arguments could not be concluded and the Court listed the matter on March 29 along with other connected matters at 2 pm.

"It is further made clear that the arguments shall continue thereafter on a regular basis till its conclusion," the Court said.

Earlier, the Court had allowed impleadment application filed by the petitioner seeking permission to add central and state governments as a party to the petition after which both were added as a respondent in the petition.

According to the petitioner, the April 8, 2021 order by a local court in Varanasi, which had directed the ASI to conduct the survey of the land was "illegal and without jurisdiction".

The Varanasi court had ordered a five-member committee, comprising two Hindu, two Muslim members and an archaeological expert, to oversee the comprehensive physical survey of the centuries-old Gyanvapi mosque complex.

The original suit was filed in 1991 in Varanasi district court seeking restoration of the ancient temple at the site where the Gyanvapi mosque currently stands.

Click here to read/download order

With PTI inputs