Supreme Court refuses to stay survey of Bhojshala Complex in MP’s Dhar

New Delhi – The Supreme Court on 1st April refused to stay a ‘scientific survey’ of Bhojshala, a medieval-era structure in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar District which Hindus and Muslims claim as their own, but said no action should be taken without its permission on the outcome of the exercise.

Hindus consider Bhojshala, an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)-protected 11th Century monument, to be a temple dedicated to Vagdevi (Goddess Saraswati), while the Muslim community calls it Kamal Maula mosque.

Under an arrangement made by the ASI on 7th April 2003, Hindus perform puja in the Bhojshala premises on Tuesdays and Muslims offer ‘namaz’ on Fridays.

A Bench of Justices Hrishikesh Roy and PK Mishra issued notices to the Centre, the MP Government, the ASI and others on the plea filed by the Maulana Kamaluddin Welfare Society challenging the 11th March order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on the ‘scientific survey’.

In its 11th March order, the High Court had directed the ASI to carry out a ‘scientific survey’ of the Bhojshala complex within six weeks. The HC order came on an application filed by an organisation called the Hindu Front for Justice (HFJ).

According to the plea, the ASI survey is a statutory duty which should have been fulfilled long back at the inspection stage when the ‘mystery and confusion’ about the true character of Bhojshala Saraswati Temple (Bhojshala Temple)-cum-Maulana Kamal Maula mosque arose, leading to disputes about its true status.

Allowing the plea, the HC had issued a number of directions to the ASI, asking it to use the latest methods and techniques for the survey.

“Complete scientific investigation, survey and excavation, through adoption of latest methods, techniques and modes of GPR-GPS survey of the site in question constituting the disputed Bhojshala temple-cum-Kamal Maula mosque complex, as also the entire 50 metres of peripheral ring area surrounding/constituting the circular periphery from the boundary of the complex be conducted”, the HC had said.

“A detailed scientific investigation be conducted by adopting carbon dating method for ascertaining the age, life of various structures both above and beneath the ground; permanent, movable and immovable structures both beneath as well as above the ground, constituting the walls, pillars, floors, surfaces, upper top, sanctum sanctorum of the entire complex”, it had noted. The HC suggested giving a representation to the contesting sides in the expert panel tasked with carrying out the survey.

It had also asked the ASI to prepare an inventory of each and every artefact, Idol, Deity or any structure found on the premises after unlocking the sealed rooms and halls of the complex and submit the same before it along with their respective photographs.

The HC had allowed the ASI to conduct any other study it deemed necessary to ascertain the true character of the complex and had insisted that submissions relating to the right to worship and performing rituals on the disputed premises shall be considered only after the panel submits its report.

(Courtesy :