New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday is likely to commence hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict which divided the disputed land on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid area in Ayodhya into three parts – for Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and the original Muslim litigant.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph will begin hearing the appeals filed in connection with the matter around 11.30 AM.

The top court bench of the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Abdul Nazeer on September 27, while rejecting the plea challenging the High Court judgment by a majority of 2:1, had directed that the matter would be heard by a three-judge bench from October 29.

Declining to refer the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgment that a mosque was not integral to Islam for offering ‘namaz’ which had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute, the apex court in a majority verdict held that a new constituted bench will commence hearing from October 29 on a batch of petitions filed by both the sides — Hindu and Muslim stakeholders — challenging the 2010 high court judgement.

On September 27, the three-judge bench while rejecting the plea had said, “We are of the considered opinion that no case has been made out to refer the Constitution Bench judgment of this court in Ismail Faruqui case for reconsideration.”

“We again make it clear that questionable observations made in the Ismail Faruqui’s case … were made in the context of land acquisition. Those observations were neither relevant for deciding the suits nor relevant for deciding these appeals,” the majority judgement had said.

In his minority judgement, Justice Nazeer had said that the “questionable” observations in the Ismail Faruqui ruling were arrived at without undertaking a comprehensive examination. He had said a Constitution Bench must decide what constitutes essential practices of a religion and thereafter the Ayodhya land dispute should be heard.

Justice Nazeer also said that whether mosque was an essential part of Islam for offering namaz was to be decided considering the religious beliefs, and that requires detailed consideration. “It is clear that the question as to whether a particular religious practice is an integral part of the religion is to be considered by the doctrine, tenets and beliefs of the religion,” he observed.

BJP-Congress Indulge in Tug of War Over Ayodhya Dispute

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday raked up the issue of Ram temple and said that like Sabarimala Verdict, the Supreme Court should take a decision on this matter too. However, the Congress on Sunday hit out at him as party leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “Yeh dukhaad prasang hai Bharaat ke liye ki aise mukhyamantri jinko koi gyaan nahi hai samvidhaan ka (This is a sad incident for India, that a CM has no knowledge of constitution).”

(Inputs from Agencies)