Supreme Court defers the scientific investigation of ‘shivling’ at Gyanvapi mosque by ASI

Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta supported the deferment of the scientific investigation stating that the government needs to examine whether such an investigation could cause any damage to the shivling.

ON Friday, a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dr D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices P.S. Narashima and K.V. Viswanathan, deferred the scientific investigation of the alleged ‘shivling‘ by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which was found on the premises of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi during a survey last year.

Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta supported the deferment of the scientific investigation stating that the government needs to examine whether such an investigation could cause any damage to the shivling.

CJI Dr Chandrachud also observed that the matter needed to be dealt with carefully while deferring the scientific investigation till the next date of hearing.

On May 12, the Allahabad High Court had quashed an Order of the Varanasi court rejecting a plea for carbon dating of the shivling claimed to have been found inside the Gyanvapi mosque premises. The Varanasi court had observed that scientific investigation would cause harm to the structure. However, the Allahabad High Court found that these observations were not supported by any relevant material.

The Allahabad High Court, in its Order, went by a report dated April 17, 2023, prepared by the superintending archaeologist, ASI, Sarnath Circle, Sarnath, Varanasi. The high court opined from the reading of the report that the scientific investigation of the shivling site, under the guidance of the ASI, assisted by experts, scientists and archaeologists, can be done conveniently subject to the rider that the site and shivling in question shall not be damaged and it shall be preserved and protected in its present shape.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, for the Masjid committee, submitted that the ASI’s report was presented before the high court on May 11 and the Order was passed the next day, without giving the masjid committee a proper opportunity to go through the report.

On the other hand, advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, appearing for the Hindu plaintiffs in the case, submitted that the ASI report opined that the survey could be done without causing any damage to the alleged shivling.

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