In a significant development, the Allahabad High Court has on May 12 ordered a “scientific survey” of the 'Shivlingam', which was a found inside the Gyanvapi mosque during the videography survey of the premises in May, 2022.
A single bench of Justice Arvind Kumar Mishra overturned the earlier decision of a Varanasi court, which had rejected the plea made by some Hindu women saying that it could ‘damage’ the structure which would be in violation of the Supreme Court order for safe keeping and preservation of the ‘Shivlingam’.
On a challenge made the Hindu women, the HC directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a scientific investigation through carbon dating to ascertain the age of the ‘Shivlingam’ without causing any damage to it.
The court had earlier directed the ASI to file a report stating if the carbon dating of the ‘Shivlingam’ could be done without causing any damage to it.
The ASI had submitted its report to the court in a sealed cover on Thursday.
A revision application was filed against the Varanasi court's order of October 14, 2022 that had rejected Hindu sides' plea for conducting a scientific assessment of 'Shivlingam' found during a survey on May 16, 2022.
A group of Hindu women, led by advocates Hari Shankar Jain and Vishnu Shankar Jain, who sought permission for prayer at the complex, contended when the Muslim side is describing the 'Shivlingam' as fountain, scientific investigation was required to be carried out for proper adjudication of the controversy.
They claimed that the district court has failed to exercise the jurisdiction and rejected the application on basis of "conjectures and surmises without appreciating the facts and law applicable in the case".
"The court below has presumed that any harm/damage may be caused to the 'Shivlingam' which is an article of faith for crores of devotees of Lord Shiva if Ground Penetrating Radar is allowed or any type of scientific investigation or carbon dating is conducted for making investigation," their plea said.
The women contended there was no doubt 'Shivlingam' is an article of deep faith for the devotees of Lord Shiva but there was no prayer made for making any scientific investigation which may cause any harm in any manner to it.
The judge had no material before him to form an opinion that if the scientific investigation was allowed, it could cause any harm or damage to the 'Shivlingam' particularly in the absence of any report submitted by ASI in the matter, they contended.
"The Archaeological Survey of India has sufficient means and mechanisms to make scientific investigation to know the nature and age of an artefact, monument, image, or any ancient article without causing any harm to the article required to be investigated," they submitted.