Carbon dating of Shivling found in Gyanvapi mosque, Allahabad High Court reprimanded ASI

Prayagraj: The Allahabad High Court (HC) has pulled up the Director General (DG) of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), V Vidyavati, for failing to file a reply, while opining whether the age of the Shivling can be safely assessed. May – May or may not be a structure similar to the one reportedly found inside the Gyanvapi Masjid complex in Varanasi in May last year.

Justice Arvind Kumar Mishra was hearing a revision petition filed by Lakshmi Devi and three others, challenging the October 14, 2022 order of the Varanasi court.

He sought a direction from the High Court to the ASI to conduct a scientific investigation of the Shivling-like structure through carbon dating and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR).

Justice Mishra termed the ASI officer’s attitude as “lethargic” and said the inaction has hindered the court proceedings.

However, the court gave the ASI DG one last chance to file a counter affidavit in the matter till April 17, the next date of hearing.

“Certainly, this lax attitude on the part of the Director General of Archaeological Survey of India is highly deplorable and such practice should be rejected. The desired report has not been submitted since November 2022 as directed,” the High Court said.

“A higher authority holding the position of Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India controlling the special administration across the country should know the seriousness of the matter and primarily respect the orders of the Courts of the High Courts,” the bench said.

The High Court made it clear that it would not allow delay by any authority on the pretext of submitting the desired report of the ASI.

Earlier, while hearing the matter on November 5, the HC had issued notice to the ASI, essentially asking the ASI DG to give its opinion by November 21, 2022.

In its October 14 order, the Varanasi court rejected a petition by Hindu worshipers to conduct a scientific examination of the Shivalinga-like structure allegedly found inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex on May 16, 2022.

The Hindu side is calling this structure a Shivling, while the Anjuman Intejamia Masjid Committee, which manages the Gyanvapi Masjid, is calling it a fountain.