The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Varanasi District Collector to conduct an all-party meeting on Tuesday to examine the Muslim side’s request for making arrangements for ‘wuzu’ (pre-prayer ablutions) in view of Ramzan.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y, Chandrachud observed that if a consensus is reached in the meeting, then it can be implemented without waiting for an order from the court. The bench, also comprising Justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala, stressed that a meeting should be convened for a congenial working arrangement.
Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing the Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, contended that wuzu was used to be done in the fountain and some washrooms were near that area.
The top court was informed that after the court’s last year order, protecting the area where a purported Shiv linga was claimed to have been discovered, the entire area was sealed. The committee, which manages the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, urged the court to direct the authorities to consider the request.
At this juncture, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, submitted that arrangements already exist for providing water for wuzu and emphasised that opening the toilets would create problems.
In November last year, the apex court had extended the protection of the area inside Gyanvapi mosque where the “Shiv Linga” was found till further orders.
The top court had said the interim order passed in May 2022, in connection with the protection of the area inside Gyanvapi mosque where the “Shiv Linga” was found, during a survey, will remain in operation till further orders.
Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Varanasi, in its plea, contended the ablution area of the mosque where the “said object” has been found which, the petitioner maintains, is in fact a part of an old fountain. The plea further added that it was sealed by the district authorities and remains sealed till date, and the washroom alongside the same also remains sealed.
The plea contended that it has created inconvenience for the worshippers where they are deprived of the wuzukhana needed for offering namaz as well as the washroom. It pointed that the door to access the washroom was through the ablution area and the same remains sealed.
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