Supreme Court refuses to stay ASI survey of Bhojshala complex in Dhar in Madhya Pradesh

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay the complete scientific survey of the Bhojshala complex in Dhar district, which is being carried out on the orders of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, however, it said that no action should be taken on the outcome of the survey being carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) without its permission.

Apex court was hearing a plea by Muslim side challenging High Court order

A bench comprising Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice PK Mishra refused to stay the ASI survey while hearing a plea filed by Maulana Kamaluddin Welfare Society challenging the High Court order delivered on March 11.

The bench issued notice to the Centre, state government of Madhya Pradesh, ASI and others on the plea of Maulana Kamaluddin Welfare Society.

What did the apex court say?

“Issue notice returnable in four weeks. In the interim, no action should be taken without the leave of this court on the outcome of the ordered impugned survey,” the apex court bench said, adding that “It is made clear that no physical excavation should be taken which will change the character of the premises in question.”

Bhojshala, an ASI-protected 11th century monument, is considered by Hindus to be a temple dedicated to Vagdevi (Goddess Saraswati), while the Muslims call it Kamal Maula Mosque. The ASI had made an arrangement on April 7, 2003, under which the Hindus perform puja in the Bhojshala premises on Tuesdays, while Muslims offer namaz in the complex on Fridays.

High Court order for ASI survey came on a plea filed by Hindu side

The High Court order had come on a plea by the Hindu side seeking a complete scientific survey of the Saraswati Temple at Bhojshala seeking to prohibit the Muslim side from offering prayers at Bhojshala complex and to grant Hindus the regular worshipping rights there. The Hindu side had urged the High Court for an ASI survey similar to the one carried out by the ASI at Gyanvapi Mosque complex in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

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