ASI Seeks Extension for Gyanvapi Mosque Complex Survey

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has applied for an eight-week extension to complete its ongoing survey at the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi. The request was made in a court hearing scheduled for September 8. This development follows a court order on July 22, instructing ASI to conduct a scientific survey of the 17th-century Gyanvapi mosque to determine whether it was constructed on top of another religious structure. Originally given a four-week deadline, the survey was supposed to conclude on September 2 (Saturday). However, ASI has sought an extension for completion.

Madan Mohan, a senior lawyer representing the Hindu side in the case, emphasized the significance of this survey, stating, “It is no ordinary survey. It’s a crucial survey, which needs to be carried out with utmost sincerity and in a careful manner. It’s the same reason why the ASI has sought eight weeks’ time to complete the survey.”

Survey Launch and Temporary Suspension

ASI initiated the survey in the first week of August, deploying a team of approximately 61 archaeologists who conducted measurements, photography, and videography of the structure. However, on July 24, the scientific survey was temporarily halted by the Supreme Court to provide a breather to the mosque committee. Additionally, the Supreme Court ruled that the district court’s order would not be enforced until 5 pm on July 26. This decision resulted from a petition filed by the mosque management committee challenging the district court’s order to conduct an ASI survey of the mosque complex. Nevertheless, the Allahabad High Court later dismissed the petition, upholding the district court’s decision, and the survey resumed on August 4.

Key Developments and Ongoing Proceedings

The ASI’s survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex has been a subject of controversy and legal battles. The primary objective of the survey is to ascertain whether the mosque was built over an existing religious structure, which holds significant implications for various stakeholders.

The timeline of key events in this case is as follows:

Date Event
July 22 Court orders ASI to conduct a scientific survey of Gyanvapi mosque.
July 24 Supreme Court temporarily suspends the scientific survey.
July 26 Supreme Court’s order not to be enforced until 5 pm.
August 4 Survey resumes following Allahabad High Court’s dismissal of the petition.
September 8 Hearing scheduled for ASI’s request for an eight-week extension.

The upcoming hearing on September 8 will determine whether ASI will be granted the additional time it seeks to complete this significant survey. The Gyanvapi mosque complex’s historical and religious significance continues to make this an emotionally charged and legally complex matter.


The ongoing survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi has faced its share of legal challenges and controversies. The Archaeological Survey of India’s request for an eight-week extension underscores the importance of conducting this survey with diligence and sincerity. The forthcoming court hearing will play a crucial role in determining the timeline for completing this significant archaeological endeavor, which holds implications for both history and faith.

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