The Allahabad High Court on Friday adjourned the hearing on the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi Mosque issue till July 6.

After hearing at length the petition filed by the Anjuman Intazamiya Masjid of Varanasi and other connected matters, Justice Prakash Padia adjourned the hearing of the case till July 6.

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

Counsel appearing on behalf of the temple, Vijay Shankar Rastogi, submitted that the Uttar Pradesh Sri Kashi Vishwanath Temple Act, 1983 passed by the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assemble came into force on January 28, 1983.

He relied upon the definition of the temple mentioned in sub section 9 of section 4 of the Act. The definition states the temple of Adi Vishweshwar, popularly known as the Sri Kashi Vishwanath temple, situated in the city of Varanasi, which is used as a place of public religious worship and dedicated to or for the benefit of or used as of right by the Hindus as a place of public religious worship of the Jyotirlinga.

Rastogi argued that rights of ownership of this temple and its endowment are vested in the deity of Sri Kashi Vishwanath, i.e., Lord Vishweshwar, which is itself mentioned in section 5 of the Act. The 'Linga' situated in this temple is 'Swayambhu' and also 'Jyotirlinga', and the 'Jyotirlinga' has a long religious history which has also been mentioned in the Puranas, he said.

It was further argued that the validity of Act had been challenged up to the Supreme Court, which in the case of Sri Adi Visheshwara of Kashi Vishwanath temple, Varanasi, and others vs the State of Uttar Pradesh and others, affirmed the validity of the Act and held that the idol of Lord Shiva in Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges is one of the five Jyotirlingas in India believed to be self-incarnated (Swayam Bhuva).

However, due to paucity of time, the arguments could not be concluded on Friday.

On April 8, 2021, the Varanasi court of civil judge (senior division) had ordered a five-member committee comprising two Hindu, two Muslim members and an archaeological expert, to oversee a "comprehensive physical survey" of the centuries-old Gyanvapi mosque complex.

The petitioners challenged the order passed by the Varanasi court in the high court, saying it was illegal and without jurisdiction as the high court had reserved its judgment on the maintainability of the suit pending in the Varanasi court.

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With PTI inputs