Ayodhya case: SC to hear Ram-Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case in January 2019

The SC fixed the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute cases for the first week of January, 2019 before an appropriate bench, which will decide the schedule of the hearing

PTI photo
PTI photo

NH Web Desk

The Supreme Court on Monday, October 29, fixed the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute cases for the first week of January next year before an appropriate bench, which will decide the schedule of hearing.

This was stated by a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph.

The newly constituted bench on Monday, October 29, was expected to hear a batch of petitions filed by both the sides -- Hindu and Muslim stakeholders -- challenging the high court judgement.

The civil appeals arise from the Allahabad High Court judgement in the land dispute case. The appropriate bench will fix the schedule with regard to the hearing of appeals in the case.

The CJI rejected the early hearing by saying the "the court has its own priorities." Uttar Pradesh SG Tushar Mehta had urged a hearing in November because of the nature of the dispute. The adjournment will delay the completion of hearing process in the case and any verdict on the case is now not likely before the crucial 2019 general elections.

"We will fix the date of hearing of Ayodhya dispute case before the appropriate bench in January," the CJI said.

On September 27, the top court bench led by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, along with Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Abdul Nazeer, by a 2:1 majority rejected the plea challenging the high court judgment and had directed that the matter would be heard by a three-judge bench on October 29. The matter had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute. The civil suit has to be decided on the basis of evidence and the previous verdict has no relevance to this issue.

Justice Ashok Bhushan, who had penned the judgment for himself and the Chief Justice of India, had said it has to find out the context in which the five-judge bench had delivered the 1994 verdict.

However, Justice S Abdul Nazeer had disagreed with the two judges and had said whether a mosque is integral to Islam has to be decided considering religious belief which requires detailed consideration.

The Muslim petitioners had pressed for hearing the challenge to the High Court judgment by a five-judge bench as the court had relied on a 1994 top court judgment that said that mosque was not essential to Islam for offering 'namaz'.

The three-judge bench while rejecting the plea had on September 27 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.

As many as 14 appeals have been filed against the high court judgement, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77 acres of land be partitioned equally among three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

(with inputs from agencies)

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