A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi is likely to hear appeals challenging the Allahabad High Court’s 2010 verdict in the Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid land dispute from Monday, Bar and Bench reported. The High Court had ordered for a three-way division of the land on which the Babri Masjid stood before Hindutva activists demolished it in December 6, 1992.
The matter is getting listed for the first time after the top court in September refused to refer to a larger bench its judgement from 1994, which held that namaaz can be offered anywhere and that a mosque is not a “essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam”. The court had said this judgement would have no impact on the Ayodhya land dispute case, which will be decided on the basis of its own facts. After the court denied the plea to refer matter to a larger bench, it had fixed the next date of hearing as October 29.
A five-judge Constitution bench, which heard the M Ismail Faruqui case in 1994, had held that the state can acquire a mosque without contravening the provisions of the Constitution. A petition had challenged the constitutional validity of the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act, 1993, under which the Centre acquired 67.703 acres of land in and around the Babri Masjid.
Justice Abdul Nazeer, in his dissenting judgement in September, said a Constitution bench needs to consider the case. He held “what is essential to religion as laid down in Ismail Faruqui was arrived at without comprehensive examination, needs to be re-examined in detail”.
Ahead of the hearing, several parties expressed faith in the Supreme Court, ANI reported. “We expect that the decision will be taken soon,” Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Minister Mohsin Raza told ANI. “I expect a favourable decision. We will welcome whatever the court will decide, especially for people who have faith in Lord Ram. This is a matter of faith. People have been waiting for it since decades.”
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vinay Katiyar said people who think this is a fight between temple and mosque are wrong. “We are very hopeful. Ram Janmabhoomi is ours,” Katiyar said. “We are not fighting over temple. We are fighting the battle of Ram Janmabhoomi.”