PRAYAGRAJ: The Allahabad high court on Wednesday granted Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) time till January 18, 2023, for filing its response to clarify whether the carbon dating of the purported Shivling found inside the Gyanvapi complex could damage it or a safe evaluation of its age could be done.
The petitioners — Laxmi Devi and three others — have filed the present civil revision petition, challenging a Varanasi court order that had rejected the demand for carbon dating and scientific determination of the purported ‘Shivling’ found during a court-mandated survey of Gyanvapi premises on May 16.
On Wednesday, the counsel for ASI, Manoj Kumar Singh, sought more time to file its response. Accepting his request, Justice JJ Munir fixed January 18, 2023 as the next date for hearing of the matter.
Earlier, on November 21, the counsel for ASI had made an oral submission before the high court, stating that the ASI was still discussing with its experts as to what methods could be adopted to determine the age of the purported ‘Shivling’. In view of it, he had sought further time of three months to submit ASI DG’s opinion as to whether a safe evaluation of the age of the purported ‘Shivling’ could be done by adopting a scientific methodology.
The high court had on November 4 sought the response of ASI in the matter and directed the ASI DG to submit an expert opinion whether investigation of the said structure, if examined through carbon-dating, ground-penetrating radar (GPR), excavation and other methods adopted to determine its age, nature and other relevant information, was likely to damage it or a safe evaluation about its age could be done.
In addition, the high court had in its November 4 order also issued notices to AIM, the state government, district administration and other respondents in the case.

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