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Ayodhya land dispute: Supreme Court adjourns hearing till January 2019

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The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the hearing for the Ayodhya title suit case to January, next year.

Notably, a bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph were hearing a batch of petitions challenging the Allahabad High Court’s 2010 verdict which divided into three parts the disputed land on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya.

CJI Gogoi rejected the early hearing by saying that the court has its own priorities. “We will fix the date of hearing of Ayodhya dispute case before the appropriate bench in January,” CJI Gogoi said.

Earlier, Uttar Pradesh SG Tushar Mehta had urged a hearing in November because of the nature of the dispute while senior advocate Kapil Sibal had urged to defer hearing the issue till after the 2019 general elections.

On September 27 this year, Supreme Court headed by the then CJI Dipak Misra had refused to refer to a five-judge constitution bench the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement that a mosque was not integral to Islam which had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.

In a majority verdict of 2:1, a three-judge bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra had said the civil suit has to be decided on the basis of evidence and the previous verdict has no relevance to this issue. Justice Ashok Bhushan, who had penned the judgement for himself and the Chief Justice of India, had said it has to find out the context in which the five-judge bench had delivered the 1994 verdict.

However, Justice S Abdul Nazeer had disagreed with the two judges and had said whether a mosque is integral to Islam has to be decided considering religious belief which requires detailed consideration.

The petition was raised by some appellants who wanted the court to reconsider its ruling in the M Ismail Faruqui vs Union Of India And Others case, in which a Constitution Bench had observed that “A mosque is not an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam and namaz by Muslims can be offered anywhere, even in open”.

The petitioners had claimed that the earlier decisions in the Ayodhya case were influenced by this statement in the Ismail Faruqui verdict which came on a plea challenging the Constitutional validity of the Acquisition of certain Area at Ayodhya Act-1993, under which 67.703 acres were acquired in Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid complex.

It is to be noted that the issue whether a mosque is integral to Islam had cropped up when the three-judge bench was hearing the appeals filed against the Allahabad High Court’s verdict. The three-judge high court bench, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had ordered that the 2.77 acres of land be partitioned equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

Also Read: Ayodhya dispute: SC to hear petitions against Allahabad HC verdict today