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The Supreme Court on Friday put on hold the Allahabad High Court directions allowing scientific survey and carbon-dating of a Shivling found inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex last year.
Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing the masjid committee, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud that the carbon dating and the scientific survey is supposed to start on Monday, as per the order passed by the high court and urged the court to not allow it, as the apex court's summer vacation will begin.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Uttar Pradesh government and the central government, submitted that "as an officer of the court my concern is that by doing the exercise as per high court order, if there is some damage to the structure, which one side says it is a Shivling and the other side says it is a fountain. If there is damage, we will have to see how (the exercise) can be...can consider that it ( the scientific survey) may await your lordships adjudication...and it would be better, if your lordships pass an order", said Mehta.
After hearing submissions, the apex court issued notice on the plea by masjid committee. The Chief Justice said the high court order would require closer scrutiny, "we direct that the implementations of the directions in the May 12 order of the high court shall stand deferred to the next date...".
Advocate Vishnu Jain, representing the Hindu side, submitted that four experts of the ASI have given a report that the structure will not be damaged at all and urged the court to call for the report from the ASI. Mehta said "we may also find out if there is some other technology...".
The Chief Justice said: "We are not averse to calling for report...we just felt from the solicitor's submissions, let them consider the situation.. they will also consult the ASI in the meantime... Let the government also consider what options
are... these are matters where one has to tread a little carefully, let us defer it right now".
Huzefa submitted that while an appeal filed by the Committee of Management of Anjuman Intezamia Masjid challenging the Varanasi court order on the issue of maintainability was still pending, an order for carbon dating was allowed by the high court.
Earlier this month, the Allahabad High Court directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to carry out a "scientific survey" of the "Shivling" in Gyanvapi mosque to ascertain its age. The high court asked the ASI to ensure that no damage is done to the structure during the survey. A single bench of Justice Arvind Kumar Mishra was responding to a petition filed by the Hindu side, demanding carbon dating of the Shivling. The ASI had submitted its report in a sealed envelope.