The Hindu parties in the Gyanvapi Mosque-Kashi Vishwanath temple dispute has submitted an application before the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to carry out a detailed survey of the object found in the fountain of the mosque which they have claimed is a Shivling [Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Varanasi vs Rakhi Singh and ors]..The application states that the alleged structure of Shivling has been surrounded by artificial walls which is a modern construction and "unconnected with the original building."The Hindu party has also claimed that the alleged structure of Shivling has "no religious significance" for Muslims since it is only a fountain according to the Masjid committee. .A bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud with Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra had earlier permitted the ASI to survey the mosque premises using non-invasive technology barring the alleged Shivling structure. The ASI later submitted a report stating that the mosque was indeed built above a Hindu ancient temple. .The Hindu side in their application has claimed that the modern construction around the alleged Shivling has been "intentionally" done so as to "hide" features of the Shivling such as "Peeth, Pithika, etc".The application states the ASI survey is needed to determine the original source of the Shivling. The petitioners have sought an ASI scientific survey of the Shivling, the area around it, including the walls and the entire sealed area. .The top court is seized of the case concerning disputed claims over whether a structure found on the premises of the Gyanvapi mosque during a survey, was a Shivling as claimed by Hindu parties.The Allahabad High Court had in December 2023 rejected a plea filed by the Muslim side challenging the maintainability of a 1991 civil suit filed by Hindu worshippers seeking rights to worship in the mosque premises.The High Court concluded that the suit by the Hindu side is not barred by the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991..BackgroundThe Gyanvapi mosque has been the subject of dispute after Hindu devotees approached a civil court seeking the right to worship inside Gyanvapi mosque, claiming that it was a Hindu temple and that it still houses Hindu deities.The civil court initially ordered a survey of the mosque by an advocate commissioner who then videotaped the premises and submitted a report to the civil court in May 2022.The report, among other things, stated that an object similar in appearance to a Shivling was found.On October 14, 2022, the District Court passed an order rejecting a plea for scientific investigation to ascertain whether the object was a Shivling or a fountain.However, the Allahabad High Court on May 12, 2023 held that a scientific investigation could be done to ascertain whether the object was a Shiva Linga or a fountain, without damaging the object.Days later, the Supreme Court temporarily deferred the High Court's direction while seeking the responses of the Central and Uttar Pradesh governments to the appeal filed by a Muslim party challenging such a direction.Later, the District Court on July 21, 2023 ordered an ASI survey of the mosque premises excluding the area previously sealed by the Supreme Court (wuzukhana or an ablution pond).The High Court upheld the District Court order.In August last year, the top court rejected the plea by the Muslim party challenging the survey and said that the High Court order for the survey does not warrant interference by the apex court at this stage and such a survey was conducted even in the Ayodhya case.The ASI then conducted the survey of the mosque and submitted a report to a Varanasi court. In its scientific survey report, the ASI concluded that a Hindu temple existed at the site of the Gyanvapi mosque prior to the construction of the mosque.Based on this, the Hindu parties have now moved the apex court to lift its freeze on conducting a survey of the Shivling as well.