26 Feb 2024

Allahabad High Court Said This While Upholding Resumption of Hindu Prayers in Gyanvapi Cellar

The Allahabad High Court has deemed the 1993 decision by the Mulayam Singh government to halt Hindu prayers in the Vyas Ji Ka Tehkhana cellar of Varanasi's Gyanvapi Mosque as "illegal." The court dismissed a petition challenging a recent district court order that permitted the resumption of prayers after a 30-year hiatus.

The cellar was sealed following the Babri Masjid Demolition in 1992. Its closure was justified by the Mulayam Singh government due to law and order concerns. The recent district court ruling, prompted by a petition from Shailendra Pathak Vyas, who claimed his family had been conducting prayers in the cellar since the British era, was upheld by the High Court.

In its judgment, the High Court highlighted the violation of Article 25 of the Constitution of India, which guarantees freedom of religion. The court asserted that the state's actions in 1993, stopping religious worship without a written order, were arbitrary and against the citizen's rights. 

The court noted Shailendra Pathak Vyas's family's possession of the cellar since 1551. The HC emphasized the failure of the Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masjid to establish prima facie possession over the disputed property.

The court concluded that the state's actions since 1993 were a continuous wrong. The HC recognized the lower court's effort to rectify the situation. It dismissed the appellant's case, stating that there was no grounds for interfering in the district court's order. The HC has appointed the District Magistrate as a receiver to oversee the resumption of worship and rituals in the cellar, which began on February 1.

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