The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea for an urgent hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute. The bench said it had been unaware Swamy was not a party to the Ayodhya case and questioned his locus standi in the matter. “What is your locus standi in the case? We don’t have time to hear you now…We didn’t know you are a party to case,” it said, according to The Indian Express.

The bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud added that it came to know about his involvement in the case only through the media. In response, Swamy clarified that he had filed a writ petition following the Allahabad High Court’s 2010 verdict as his right to pray was affected by the pending case. “It’s a matter of faith for me. I want a temple there,” he said, according to The Economic Times.

The BJP leader had filed a plea seeking permission to build a Ram Temple at the disputed Ayodhya site in Uttar Pradesh. He is not a party to the main appeal against the high court ruling, which had ordered a three-way break-up of the 2.77-acre plot.

After the top judiciary’s dismissal, Swamy took to Twitter to criticise the judges’ move. He said they adjourned the matter claiming “they have no time” and had asked him about his role in the appeal even though he had made it clear earlier that he was part of the case as it was a “fundamental right to worship issue”. “In other words, those who wanted delay succeeded. I will try another route soon...Only way for Muslim leadership not to create bad blood with Hindus is to agree unilaterally to build a mosque elsewhere.”

On March 21, the Supreme Court had suggested resolving the long-standing dispute outside court. The bench had asked Swamy to mediate the talks among the parties concerned, but the litigants had rejected the suggestion and sought a panel of Supreme Court judges as mediators.

The case:

The Ayodhya dispute traces back to 1948. On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid was demolished by lakhs of Hindu karsevaks (volunteers) gathered at the site. Senior BJP leaders such as LK Advani and Uma Bharati were purportedly present at the location. The incident had triggered communal riots across the country.

On September 30, 2010, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had divided the site where the Babri Masjid once stood into three – two parts for Hindus and the third for the Sunni Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh that represented the Muslims. All parties involved in the dispute had challenged the decision in the Supreme Court.