A Varanasi district court on Friday directed the Director of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi mosque premises, excluding the area previously sealed by the Supreme Court (wuzukhana or an ablution pond)..District judge AK Vishwesha passed the order allowing a survey by the ASI after arguments concluded on July 14. The Court instructed the ASI director to conduct the scientific survey of the mosque premises without causing any damage to it. .In May of this year, four Hindu women worshippers had filed an application, citing Section 75(e) and Order 26 Rule 10A of the CPC, in a suit currently pending on the issue before the district court. The application sought to establish all year-round worshipping rights for them in the Gyanvapi mosque compound..The applicants argued that a comprehensive scientific survey of the entire mosque premises would assist them in substantiating their claims.They further asserted that the survey's findings would also enable the Court to arrive at a logical conclusion based on material collected by an expert fact-finding agency..Considering the ASI's status as a premier institution in the country, equipped with the necessary infrastructure and instruments for conducting scientific surveys, the Court issued the following directions to the ASI director:.(a) Undertake the scientific investigation/survey/excavation at the property in question excluding the areas sealed;(b) Conduct a detailed scientific investigation by using the GPR Survey, Excavation, Dating method and other modern techniques of the present structure to find out whether the same has been constructed over a pre-existing structure of a Hindu temple;(c) Conduct a scientific investigation and submit a report to the Court by August 4, 2023, and also photograph and videograph the entire survey proceedings;(d) Investigate the age and nature of construction of the western wall of the building in question through the scientific method(s);(e) Conduct Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey just below the 3 domes of the building in question and conduct the excavation, if required:(f) Conduct Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey beneath the western wall of the building and conduct the excavation, if required;(g) Conduct Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey beneath the ground of all the cellars and conduct the excavation, if required;(h) Prepare a list of all the artefacts which are found in the building specifying their contents and carry out a scientific investigation and undertake a dating exercise to find out the age and nature of such artefacts;(i) Conduct a dating exercise of the pillars and plinth of the building to find out the age and the nature of the construction;(j) Conduct GPR survey, excavation wherever required, dating exercise and other scientific methods for determining the age and nature of construction existing at the site in question;(k) Investigate the artefacts and other objects of historical and religious importance existing in different parts of the building and also beneath the structure which may be found during such exercise..The case began when 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 ordered a survey of the Mosque by an advocate commissioner, who then videotaped the premises and submitted a report to the civil court. The report, among other things, stated that an object similar in appearance to a Shivling was found.The matter was later transferred to the district court, Varanasi on orders passed by the Supreme Court.On October 14 last year, the district court passed an order rejecting a plea for scientific investigation to ascertain whether the object was a Shivling or a fountain, as claimed by the respondents.The order of the district court was challenged before the High Court on the ground that the District Court wrongly presumed that a scientific investigation in the form of carbon dating or use of a ground penetrating radar would harm or damage the object.On May 12 this year, the Allahabad High Court held that a scientific investigation can be done to ascertain whether the object found during the survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque premises 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. This matter is presently pending before the top court.