Shringar Gauri case: Allahabad High Court asks ASI if Shivling-like structure is safe to examine

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The Allahabad High Court has ordered the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to submit an opinion on whether a safe survey of the structure, claimed to be a Shivling and found during a survey of Lawyer commissioner on Gyanvapi Mosque premises on May 16 related to Shringar Gauri case, can be done through carbon dating, ground penetrating radar (GPR), excavation and other methods.

The court on Friday asked ASI to respond to whether such methods adopted to determine the age, nature and other relevant information were likely to damage the structure.

Allahabad High Court Judge JJ Munir ordered that the report be submitted by the ASI Director General by November 21, the next court date.

The Allahabad High Court was hearing a civil review petition from Laxmi Devi and three others challenging the Varanasi District Court’s Oct. 14 order that denied the request for carbon dating or scientific investigation of the structure Shivling type.

The District Court ordered that this order be communicated to DG ASI by the Registrar (Compliance) of the District Court within 24 hours.

In view of the assertion made by Hari Shankar Jain, the petitioner’s attorney, that the Varanasi District Judge is pursuing the prosecution and that this may adversely affect the outcome of any eventual scientific investigation by the ASI, the court has ordered that the district judge will set a date in the suit in the first week of December 2022.

In addition, the court issued a notice to the state government, district administration and other respondents in the case.

In August last year, the petitioner and four other female devotees approached the Varanasi Civil Court to demand the right to daily worship of Maa Shringar Gauri and other Hindu deities on the exterior wall of the Gyanvapi Mosque.

Acting on their request, the civil court ordered an investigation into the Gyanvapi compound by the attorney commissioner, who then videotaped the proceedings at the premises in May this year and submitted a report to the court.

The report, among other findings, stated that it was claimed that an object similar in appearance to a Shivling was found.

Subsequently, the petitioner filed a petition on September 22 in the Varanasi District Court, requesting a forensic investigation to determine the age and nature of the alleged Shivling.

On October 14, the Varanasi District Judge denied the request for carbon dating along with other scientific inquiries to determine whether the object found in the investigation was Shivling or not.

The district judge denied the aforementioned request primarily on the grounds that the attorney-commissioner’s finding, which the plaintiffs claim to be a Shivling, should be protected under the Supreme Court’s order dated May 20. The requested scientific review may damage that, the district judge added in his order.

The plaintiffs challenged this district judge’s order in the high court on the grounds that he incorrectly assumed that scientific investigation in the form of carbon dating or ground-penetrating radar (GPR) would harm or damage the object.

The plaintiff’s attorney argued that “the district judge’s order is wrong in law because it is based on a reasoning that a scientific investigation of the Shivlingam, demanded by the plaintiffs, would lead to its prejudice and which would violate Supreme Court Court Order They insisted that there is no basis for this apprehension, as the question of whether carbon dating, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and excavation would actually damage it , can only be judged on the basis of the opinion of the Archaeological Survey of India and not by assumption or conjecture.”

Pointing out that one of the opposing parties described the object as a fountain, the plea alleged that the district judge erroneously held that the matter at issue in the lawsuit did not require an ASI investigation and stated that a scientific inquiry was necessary to ensure a proper resolution of the controversy.

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