The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to list for hearing on April 21 a plea seeking consolidation of all suits filed in a Varanasi court pertaining to the Gyanvapi mosque complex row.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud during the morning mentioning time on Tuesday took note of the submissions of lawyer Vishnu Shankar Jain, appearing for some Hindu claimants, that the Varanasi district judge had failed to consolidate the suits for hearing.
Jain told the bench, also including Justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala, that the Varanasi district judge who was entrusted with the task of hearing the issue by the apex court had deferred the verdict four times. Jain sought appropriate directions from the apex court to the district judge following which the CJI said he would list the matter for hearing on April 21.
Consolidation of suits refers to the court’s power to consolidate/club multiple suits on a particular issue raised by different parties to be heard together and disposed of expeditiously to avoid multiple proceedings in different courts on the same issue.
On November 11, the bench headed by CJI Chandrachud had indefinitely extended its May 17 interim orders directing the Varanasi district magistrate to ensure the protection of the area within Gyanvapi mosque where a shivling was purportedly discovered during a survey ordered by the district court.
The apex court had directed that the purported shivling on the mosque premises be protected but stayed all restrictions imposed by a local court on Muslims offering namaz at the place.
“The area where the shivling is found shall be protected. We direct that the above order shall not in any manner restrict or impede the entry of Muslims to the mosque for namaz or other religious observances,” the then bench of Justice Chandrachudand Justice Narasimha had ruled.