1991-1997: Gyanvapi Dispute Reaches the Courts

1991: Three local Hindus file a title-dispute suit in the Varanasi Civil Court on behalf of three Hindu deities — Shiva, Shringar Gauri, and Ganesha — for handing over the entire site to the Hindu community to facilitate the temple reconstruction. The Muslim side contends that the petition contravenes the Places of Worship Act, which expressly prohibits courts from entertaining litigations that seek to convert places of worship, and even contests the idea that Aurangzeb had demolished any temple to construct the mosque.

1997: The Varanasi Civil Court rules that the suit was not maintainable under the PoW Act of 1991. Subsequently, both the temple and mosque sides file several revision petitions before the district court.

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