The Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi mosque matter is not a property dispute but is a national issue with the emotions of millions of people attached to it, the counsel for the temple said in the Allahabad High Court on Monday.

The Court was hearing petitions filed by the Anjuman Intazamia Masjid of Varanasi and others.

"The Hindu community believes that the disputed site is a temple of Lord Vishweshwar whereas the Muslim community believes that the disputed site is a mosque. Further, the decision in the Ram Janambhumi case has increased the importance of the present case," the Counsel representing the temple said.

During the course of hearing, the counsel said that the character of the religious structure is ascertained on the basis of the whole property and not on the basis of part of the property, and the religious character of the property cannot be changed by merely changing of a part only.

It was also argued that when the whole evidence comes, only then the religious character of a property can be determined.

In mere declaration of mosque as Waqf property, the Waqf Act would not be applicable because it is a dispute between Hindus and Muslims and not between two sets of the Muslim community. Therefore, the Waqf Act cannot not be applicable in this case, the counsel argued.

Justice Prakash Padia fixed the next date of hearing as April 8.

Earlier on March 24, the Counsel representing the temple had argued that the religious character of the place of worship remained the same as on the day of August 15, 1947, therefore, the provisions of the Place of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 cannot be applied.

The original suit was filed in 1991 in the Varanasi district court seeking restoration of the ancient temple at the site where the Gyanvapi mosque currently stands. The plea has been taken in the suit that the said mosque is a part of the temple.

At one stage, the civil judge of Varanasi on April 8 last year had directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a survey of Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex to find out whether a temple was demolished to build the mosque that stands there adjacent to the temple.

Subsequently, the High Court, in the present case on September 9 last year, stayed the Varanasi court's order that directed the ASI to conduct a comprehensive physical survey' of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque complex and further proceedings of this case.

With PTI inputs