Allahabad High Court: In a civil revision against the order of District Judge, Varanasi, wherein the Trial Court dismissed the application and observed that the prayer made for scientific investigation of the Shivlingam cannot be ordered as that would be in violation of the order dated 17-05-2022 passed by the Supreme Court directing the site / Shivlingam to be preserved and protected, Arvind Kumar Mishra-I, J. viewed that scientific investigation of the Shivlingam / site, under able guidance of the Archaeological Survey of India (‘ASI’) assisted by the experts, scientists, archaeologist, can be done conveniently subject to that the site / Shivlingam shall not be damaged, and it shall be preserved and protected in its present shape. Further, it directed the District Judge to proceed further with the case and also, directed the ASI to conduct scientific investigation of the site / Shivlingam.
Pursuant to the order of this Court dated 04-11-2022 Director General, ASI was directed for expressing opinion on the point whether scientific investigation of the ‘Shivlingam’ found at the site, can be done through the method of carbon dating, ground penetrating radar (GPR), excavation and other scientific methods to be adopted to determine its age, nature and other relevant information without causing damage to it.
The Court from the careful perusal of the report of the ASI said that the scientific investigation of the site can be suitably carried out without causing harm to the site / Shivlingam in issue, as it can be concluded that the Shivlingam / site would remain preserved and protected even after the scientific investigation for determining the age, nature and status of the site / Shivlingam is done. The various reports of the scientific institutions do indicate to the same purport that scientific investigation can be carried out without causing harm to the site / Shivlingam.
Thus, the Court viewed that scientific investigation of the Shivlingam / site, under able guidance of the ASI assisted by the experts, scientists, archaeologist, can be done conveniently subject to that the site / Shivlingam shall not be damaged, and it shall be preserved and protected in its present shape.
The Court observed that the report forwarded by the Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, would make it feasible and convenient that scientific investigation can be made to the extent and purport without causing harm to the site / Shivlingam in issue. That way, the natural premise that would follow, would proceed on theme that the actual site of the Shivlingam would remain preserved and protected.
Further, the Court said that if the Trial Court had any apprehension of damage being caused to the site in case its scientific investigation is directed, in that event the Court must have sought expert opinion. The Trial Court, without collecting specific data from the able agency jumped upon the conclusion that scientific investigation of the site / Shivlingam if directed to be done in all probability result in destruction of the site / Shivlingam itself.
The Court also reiterated that any finding recorded by a court of law must be supported by relevant material on record, whereas any finding recorded by a court of law on the strength of reasoning alone minus relevant material on record would be on the face arbitrary and erroneous. Therefore, the impugned order is erroneous and cannot be sustained.
[Laxmi Devi v State of UP, 2023 SCC OnLine All 168, Order dated 12-05-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Counsel for Revisionist:- Advocate Prabhash Pandey, Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain;
Counsel for Opposite Party:- Advocate Amitabh Trivedi, Advocate Fatima Anjum, Advocate Manoj Kumar Singh, Advocate Saurabh Tiwari, Advocate Syed Ahmed, Advocate Vineet Sankalp, Advocate Zaheer.