PRAYAGRAJ: The Archaeological Survey of India assured the Allahabad high court through an affidavit on Wednesday that no damage would be caused to the structure due to methods used for the survey of the Gyanvapi complex as per the order of the Varanasi district judge.

Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker, hearing a petition filed by the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid (AIM) challenging the Varanasi court’s July 21, 2023 order for a scientific survey of the mosque premises, deferred the hearing till 3.30pm on Thursday, when it is likely to pronounce judgment, and asked the ASInot to carry out any survey as the hearing was on.

The Supreme Court had on April 24 stayed the Varanasi court order till 5pm on Wednesday and asked AIM to approach the HC for relief.
Survey to be done by non-destructive techniques: ASI
The CJ expressed doubt about the methods of survey used as the additional solicitor general, appearing for the ASI, couldn’t satisfy the bench about its exact methodology. He then asked the ASG to call an ASI expert from Varanasi to demonstrate to the court how the survey would be conducted.

Gyanvapi mosque: Allahabad HC stays ASI survey till next hearing on July 27

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Gyanvapi mosque: Allahabad HC stays ASI survey till next hearing on July 27

Appearing in court, ASI additional director Alok Tiwari submitted: “During the survey, we will not damage or demolish any structure or its parts, like wall or pillar. We will not cut or dig any part of the structure. Survey will be done by non-destructive techniques, and for the ground-penetrating radar survey, we have called experts from IIT Kanpur.”

Taking into account this submission, the court orally remarked that hypothetically, even if it is felt that anything wrong could be done by the state or the ASI, the court could always stop them. After this, the chief justice told the ASI officer that since “the apex court’s stay order was operative till 5 pm today, if any of your team is present at the spot, ask them not to conduct the survey now as a hearing is going on”. As AIM lawyer SFA Naqvi sought some time to go through the ASI affidavit, the court fixed the hearing for 3.30pm on Thursday.

During the course of the hearing , the AIM lawyer, senior advocate SFA Naqvi, submitted that while passing the order on July 21, the Varanasi court had come to the conclusion that in the absence of a survey report, the issues in this suit couldn’t be decided, but the court did not discuss the materials before it on the basis of which it reached such a conclusion. He said first the court has to proceed on the basis of evidence produced by the applicants, but no such evidence is mentioned in the plaint. He also argued that the present suit was not filed by the trust management but a third party — four women. Hence, the suit was not maintainable.


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