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Varanasi court consolidates eight cases on Gyanvapi mosque 

Varanasi district judge Dr AK Vishwesha observed that since the cases were almost similar, they should be tried and consolidated together. LUCKNOW: The Varanasi District Court allowed the consolidation of eight pending suits in relation to the Gyanvapi mosque dispute, on Tuesday. The eight cases are posted for the next hearing on July 7.
Varanasi district judge Dr AK Vishwesha observed that since the cases were almost similar, they should be tried and consolidated together. The Court also reiterated its earlier observation that if the cases remained pending in different courts, there was a possibility of contradictory orders being passed in them.

"I am of the opinion that it will be expedient in the interest of the justice that all the suits mentioned here should be tried together and may be consolidated as all these suits and proceedings shall be decided upon the evidence in any such suits and proceedings and Civil Suit (18/2022) Smt Rakhi Singh and others Vs State of UP and Others shall be the leading case and evidence shall be recorded in the leading case," the judge said.  The Varanasi district judge passed the order under the provision of Section 4A of CPC. The counsel for the applicants stated that in Uttar Pradesh, the Uttar Pradesh Civil Laws (Reforms and Amendment) Act, a new order 4A was inserted in the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) for consolidation of suits and proceedings.

Moreover, the district judge also acted in the wake of the Supreme Court's order of November 11, 2022, wherein the apex court had empowered the district court judge to determine whether consolidation of similar suits was warranted if an application was made before him. One of the pleas to transfer cases concerning the Gyanvapi dispute to the Court of District Judge was moved by some petitioners -- Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu, Manju Vyas, and Rekha Pathak -- in suit no. 18/2022. They had claimed that since all the suits were of similar nature,  they should be tried together to save time, money and to avoid legal challenges.

Through suit no 18/2022, five Hindu women petitioners had sought year-long access to worship at Maa Shringar Gauri site on the western wall of Gyanvapi mosque premises. Of the seven suits, six are pending in the court of Varanasi Civil Judge (Senior Division) and one is pending before the fast-track court of civil judge (senior division). The case pending in fast track court pertains to the one filed by Lord Vishweshwar Virajman (Swayambhu) through his next friend Kiran Singh, the international general secretary of Vishwa Vedic Sanatan Sangh. Through the suit, the plaintiff has sought to hand over Gyanvapi premises to Lord Adi Vishweshwara Virajman.

Last year, the civil court had ordered a survey of the mosque premises by an advocate commissioner, who then videotaped the premises and submitted the report to the Varanasi Civil Court (Senior Division). The report, among other things, stated that an object similar in appearance to a Shivling was found in the Wuzu Khana of the mosque premises during the survey. The matter was later transferred to the Varanasi District Court on orders passed by the Supreme Court. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)