LUCKNOW: The application by the Hindu side which led to the HC verdict for ASI survey is one of the latest cases — filed less than three months ago — in over three-decade-old legal battle.

Oct 15, 1991 | A petition was filed before Varanasi civil judge on behalf of Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar (Lord Shiva) and five others. It demanded the restoration of Gyanvapi land to the adjacent KV temple. It also sought removal of Muslims from the complex, and demolition of mosque.

June 1997 | Hearing begins
July 17, 1997 | Civil court said that the suit was not maintainable under the Places of Worship Act, 1991. Both the temple and mosque sides filed several revision petitions before district court.
Sept 28, 1998 | Dist judge merged all the pleas and ordered the civil court to adjudicate the dispute afresh after considering all evidence.
Oct 13, 1998 | HC stayed the Varanasi dist court order.
The stay continued for 22 years with the HC continuing to extend it
January 2020 | The plaintiffs again approached the Varanasi civil court to reopen the case which had been stayed by the HC in October 1998. They cited an SC order of 2018 which said that a stay order has to be rectified every six month. Since this was not done in this case, the civil court agreed to reopen the case.
March 15, 2020 | High court reserved its verdict
Dec 2019 | A fresh petition was filed in the civil court of Varanasi by one Vijay Shankar Rastogi, who identified himself as the “next friend” of Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar. He sought ASI survey of the Gyanvapi complex to find out whether the mosque was built over an ancient Hindu temple.
Apr 8, 2021 | Varanasi civil judge (senior division) Ashutosh Tiwari directed the ASI to conduct a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi complex.
Sept 9, 2021 | Justice Prakash Padia of HC stayed the order. He later clubbed this case with the original suit — the judgment in which had been reserved in March 2020 — by reopening it for further clarification from both the sides
July 25, 2023 | Justice Padia concluded hearing in these two cases and has fixed August 28 for delivery of final verdict
Aug 2021 | 5 women plaintiffs approached civil judge (senior division) Ravi Kumar Diwakar with their plea to allow them to worship the idols of Shringar Gauri and other visible and invisible deities on the outer wall of Gyanvapi mosque.
April 8, 2022 | Civil judge Diwakar ordered a court-mandated survey of the Gyanvapi premises. As per the order, a court commissioner was to supervise a videography of the spots where the idols were situated as per the claim of the petitioners
April 21, 2022 | HC dismisses AIM plea challenging the order
May 6, 2022 | Survey starts amid protests by the Muslim side
May 13, 2022 | Survey resumed; AIM moves SC
May 16, 2022 | The survey team claimed to have discovered a ‘Shivling’ in the middle of the ablution pond of the Gyanvapi complex. The civil judge immediately ordered the sealing of the wuzu area
May 17, 2022 | SC started hearing the AIM plea against court survey
May 20, 2022 | SC ordered status quo at Gyanvapi and full protection of the pond area. Asked Varanasi dist judge to decide the case within six months
Sept 12, 2022 | Varanasi district judge Ajay Krishna Vishvesha said that the plea of the five women plaintiffs was maintainable

Other cases

present case

NOTE There are 18 pleas related to Gyanvapi dispute being heard by various courts of Varanasi, besides the original suit in which HC has conducted final hearing and fixed Aug 28, 2023 for final verdict. Eight out of 18 cases of similar nature in Varanasi have been clubbed and being heard by the district judge

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