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Varanasi court orders ASI probe into Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanwapi mosque dispute

In his order, a senior civil judge of the fast track court asked the Uttar Pradesh government to get examined the disputed premises by a five-member team of the Archaeological Survey of India at its expense

Varanasi court orders ASI probe into Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanwapi mosque dispute

The order was given by a senior division civil court on a plea pending before it since 2019

A Varanasi court on Thursday ordered an archaeological survey of the disputed premises, claimed both by the Kashi Vishwanath temple and the Gyanwapi mosque in the holy city.

The order was given by a senior division civil court on a plea pending before it since 2019, petitioner counsel Vijay Shankar Rastogi said.

In his order, a senior civil judge of the fast track court asked the Uttar Pradesh government to get examined the disputed premises by a five-member team of the Archaeological Survey of India at its expense. The court also stipulated that at least two members of the five-member team of eminent archaeologists should be from the minority community, Rastogi said.

He said the court gave this order on a plea filed by him as the "next friend" of the self-existing Lord Vishweshvar Kashi Vishwanath, in the deity's status as a "legal person" under a doctrine of legal fiction. According to this legal doctrine, non-living entities including banks, corporations and even deities but not mosques are presumed to be living persons for adjudication of any matter involving them and such entities are represented in the court by what is known as their "next friend".

Rastogi said in his plea he had contended that the Gyanwapi Mosque in Varanasi is a part of Vishveshwar Temple and the court has ordered an ASI survey of the disputed area between the two shrines on this plea.

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