New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday is likely to decide whether the pleas challenging its 1994 verdict that mosque is not an integral part of Islam should be re-examined by a larger bench. The judgment could impact the long-standing Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title dispute.
On July 20, the top court had reserved its order on the plea by 20 Muslim groups seeking reconsideration by a larger bench the observations made by it in the M Ismail Faruqui vs Union of India case in 1994.
The SC had then held that a mosque was not an “essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam” and hence “its acquisition (by the state) is not prohibited by the provisions in the Constitution of India”.
Now, it has been argued by Muslim groups before a special bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer that the “sweeping” observation of the apex court in the verdict needed to be reconsidered by a five-judge bench as “it had and will have a bearing” on the Babri Masjid-Ram Temple land dispute case.
Earlier, Hindu groups had opposed the plea of their Muslim counterparts that the 1994 verdict holding that a mosque was not integral to the prayers offered by the followers of Islam be referred to a larger bench.
The observations were made in the land acquisition matter pertaining to the Ayodhya site and the apex court had to consider two aspects as to whether a mosque could be acquired at all and whether a religious place of worship like a mosque, church or temple was immune from acquisition if it is a place of special significance for that religion and formed an essential and integral part of that religion.
The special bench of the apex court is seized of a total of 14 appeals filed against the high court judgement delivered in four civil suits.
A three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had in 2010 ordered that the land be partitioned equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.