Prayagraj, Mar 22 (IANS): The Allahabad High Court has granted "one more chance" to the Archaeological Survey Of India (ASI), to file its response by April 5 and clarify whether the carbon dating of the purported Shivling found inside the Gyanvapi mosque could damage it or safe evaluation of its age can be done.
The court expressed displeasure over delay in the filing of a counter affidavit (reply) by the ASI.
The petitioners -- Laxmi Devi and three others -- have filed the present civil revision petition, challenging a Varanasi court order that had rejected the demand for carbon dating and scientific determination of the purported Shivling found during a court-mandated survey of Gyanvapi mosque premises on May 16, 2022.
On January 19, the court had granted eight weeks' time to the ASI to file its response. However, the counsel for the ASI sought more time to file its response, as according to him, the ASI has to take advice from other agencies as well.
Justice Arvind Kumar Mishra observed: "The time extension application has already been given for obtaining advice from other agencies. Further time should not be sought by the ASI, as the ASI may take advice as it thinks appropriate by embarking upon process which would expedite the matter because the issue on merits has been kept pending since long for obtaining report of the ASI and for which the time extension application is working against interest of justice and it should not be allowed to go on any further from April 5."
However, the court also directed the trial court at Varanasi, where this case is pending, to fix date in the trial after April 5.
Earlier, on November 21, 2022, the counsel for the ASI had made an oral submission before the high court, stating that the ASI was still contemplating with its experts as to what methods could be adopted to determine the age of the purported Shivling.
In view of it, he had sought further time of three months to submit ASI DG's opinion as to whether a safe evaluation of the age of the purported Shivling could be done by adopting a scientific methodology.