New Delhi: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday moved the Supreme Court for urgent listing of his plea seeking enforcement of his fundamental right to worship at the disputed Ram Temple site at Ayodhya.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked Swamy to remain present in the court on Tuesday when the main Ayodhya matter will be taken up for hearing.
Swamy, while mentioning the matter for urgent listing, told the bench that his plea should be heard separately. However, the CJI said, “You be present here tomorrow. We will see”.
The apex court had last year disallowed Swamy from intervening in the Ayodhya land dispute case and made it clear that only the parties to original lawsuits would be allowed contest.
However, the bench had considered Swamy’s submission that he had not sought to intervene in the matter but had filed a separate writ petition seeking enforcement of his fundamental right to worship at the birth place of Lord Ram in Ayodhya.
“I had filed a writ petition saying that I have a fundamental right to worship and this is a superior right than property right,” Swamy had said.
“As we are not inclined to permit the intervention application, the writ petition filed by the applicant (Swamy) shall stand revived and it shall be dealt with by the appropriate bench in accordance with law,” the bench had said.
On Monday, Swamy sought urgent listing of his plea for the enforcement of fundamental right to worship.
Supreme Court’s five-judge Constitution Bench, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, will on Tuesday hear the politically-sensitive Ayodhya’s Ram-Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid land dispute matter.
The apex court on January 27 had cancelled the scheduled hearing for January 29 as Justice Bobde was not available that day.
Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
The five-judge bench was re-constituted on January 25 as Justice U U Lalit, who was a member of the original bench, had recused himself from hearing the matter.
When the new bench was constituted, Justice N V Ramana was excluded from the re-constitution bench.
Justices Bhushan and Nazeer made a comeback to hear the Ayodhya land dispute matter — both were part of an earlier bench headed by then CJI Dipak Misra (now retired).
It had on September 27, 2018, refused to refer to a five-judge Constitution Bench the reconsideration of the observation in its 1994 judgment that a mosque was not integral to Islam.
The central government had on January 29 moved the apex court seeking its nod to return the 67-acre undisputed acquired land around the disputed site to original owners.
The 0.313 acre plot, on which the disputed structure stood before it was demolished by ‘kar sevaks’ on December 6, 1992, was within the 2.77-acre disputed premises, the plea filed by the BJP-led NDA government had said.
The government had then acquired 67.703 acres, including the 2.77-acre plot, through a legislation in 1993. The Ram Janambhoomi Nyas (RJN) is the owner of as much as 42 acres of the acquired non-disputed land.
The Centre’s plea has said that the RJN (a trust to promote construction of Ram Temple) had also sought return of excess land acquired to original owners.
The Centre has claimed that only 0.313 acre of land was disputed on which the structure stood before it was demolished by ‘kar sevaks’ on December 6, 1992.
The Centre has sought modification in its 2003 order and permission to return to original owners the 67 acres “non-disputed” land around the disputed structure in Ayodhya.
A week after, another petition was filed challenging the constitutional validity of a 1993 central law by which the government acquired 67.703 acres of land, including the disputed premises of Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid, in Ayodhya.
The plea, challenging legislative competence of Parliament to acquire religious land.
The petition, filed by seven individuals, including two Lucknow-based lawyers claiming to be devotees of Ram Lalla, has contended that Parliament had no legislative competence to acquire land belonging to the state.
Moreover, it said, the state legislature has the exclusive power to make provisions relating to the management of affairs of religious institutions inside its territory.