Varanasi (UP), Jul 18 (PTI) As Shringar Gauri was a place of worship for Hindus till 1993, the Place of Worship Act 1991 does not apply in the case, a petitioner claimed before a district court here during the hearing in the Gyanvapi mosque-Shringar Gauri temple matter on Monday.
District government counsel Rana Sanjeev Singh said litigant number 1, Rakhi Singh, was represented by lawyer Shivam Gaur, who asserted that the case was limited to the issue of regular worship of Maa Shringar Gauri and the right to the Gyanvapi land does not come under the purview of the petitions by her client and other plaintiffs.
The hearing will continue in the court of District Judge AK Vishvesh on Tuesday also.
Rakhi Singh and others had filed a petition seeking permission for daily worship of Hindu deities whose idols are located on an outer wall of the mosque but the Muslim side had urged the court to dismiss the case.
Gaur contested the stand of the Muslim side that the case is not maintainable, saying “it is completely wrong”.
“The Places of Worship Act, Waqf Act and Kashi Vishwanath Act, which the Muslim side has repeatedly cited, are not applicable in my case,” the lawyer said.
Gaur,in his argument before the court, said that the Hindu side had been worshiping Maa Shringar Gauri till 1993. Later, the government put up barricades and banned the worship of the deity by Hindus.
“Shringar Gauri was a place of worship for Hindus till 1993. Therefore, the Places of Worship Act does not apply to my case,” he said.
The Act prohibits conversion of any place of worship and provides for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947. Even if the temple at the site was destroyed, permission should be given for worship, the counsel said.
“I placed about twenty judgments before the court in the Waqf Act 1995,” Gaur said.
He said that his case was limited to the issue of regular worship of Maa Shringar Gauri.
“The right of land of Gyanvapi does not come under the purview of Rakhi Singh or any of the plaintiffs. The owner of the land is Lord Adi Vishweshwar. No devotee can lay claim to the land of God,” he said.
In the last hearing on Friday, the Hindu plaintiffs had submitted that the Shivling claimed to have been found there during a videography survey was worshipped for centuries but later hidden.
After Rakhi Singh and others had filed the petition, a lower court later ordered a videography survey of the complex. The survey work was completed on May 16 and the report was presented in the court on May 19.
The Hindu side had claimed in the court that a Shivling was found during the videography survey of the Gyanvapi mosque-Shringar Gauri complex, but the Muslim side had claimed that it was part of a fountain mechanism.
On the Supreme Court’s order, the matter is now being heard by the district court. PTI COR ABN RT RT
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