The Varanasi district court on Tuesday passed an order allowing the consolidation of seven suits related to the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath temple dispute and will now hear the suits, which were initially filed in different local courts of Varanasi in 2021 and 2022, together.
The court had earlier transferred the seven suits to itself.
On Tuesday, the court of District Judge Ajaya Krishna Vishvesha said that it “will be expedient in the interest of justice that all the (seven) suits” should be tried together and “may be consolidated”.
The district judge had on April 17 transferred seven suits “related to the Shri Adi Vishveshwar Temple” pending in three local courts of Varanasi to the district court. The suits have identical issues and the “subject-matter of the suit are also common”. As per the April 17 order, the seven suits were transferred to the district judge’s court and registered as original suits in the court.
The court decided that the petition filed by five women, including Rakhi Singh, seeking permission to be allowed to pray at “a Shringar Gauri Sthal” inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex will become the leading petition when the seven suits are heard by the Varanasi district judge court.
The counsel for the Hindu petitioners submitted in court that the Supreme Court of India in an order on November 11, 2022, has said that “applicants can file an application before the District Judge for consolidation of suits”.
The application by the Hindu side seeking consolidation of seven suits was filed on May 3 this year.
The counsel for the petitioner also stated in the application for consolidation that “by way of Uttar Pradesh Act No.57 of 1976, a new Order 4-A has been inserted in the Civil Procedure Code for consolidation of suits and proceedings”. The order 4-A of CPC reads: “Consolidation of suits and proceedings – When two or more suits or proceedings are pending in the same court, and the court is of opinion that it is expedient in the interest of justice, it may be order direct their joint trial, whereupon all such suits and proceedings may be decided upon the evidence in all or any such suits or proceedings”.
The Supreme Court had on Friday extended its interim direction securing the area in the Gyanvapi complex in Varanasi where a ‘Shivling’ was claimed to have been found during a videographic survey of the mosque area without impeding or restricting the rights of Muslims to access and offer namaz at the mosque till further orders.
The apex court order came days after the Allahabad High Court ordered a “scientific investigation” of the ‘Shivling’ found at the Gyanvapi mosque premises.