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SC likely to commence Ayodhya title suit hearing from Monday

New Delhi: The Ayodhya title suit appeals are scheduled for hearing on October 29 before a completely new Supreme Court Bench, led by Chief Justice of India.

The matter would be heard by a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice K.M. Joseph.

Earlier, the case was being heard by a Bench of then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Abdul Nazeer. After the retirement of CJI Misra on October 2, the Bench has been reconstituted.

The top court had on September 27 refused to refer to a larger Bench its 1994 verdict which ruled a “mosque is not an essential part of the practice of Islam”. It had directed the cross appeals in the Ayodhya title suit to be listed before a three-judge Bench on October 29.

By a 2:1 verdict, a Bench headed by then CJI Misra had said the court’s observation in the 1994 case was made in the limited context of “land acquisition” at the disputed site and it was not relevant for deciding the main title suit, in which cross-appeals against Allahabad High Court’s September 30, 2010 verdict are pending before the top court for eight years.

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

However, Justice S Abdul Nazeer had dissented, saying “all mosques, all churches and temples are significant for the community.” The “questionable” observation of 1994 verdict had permeated into the Allahabad High Court’s decision in the case, he had noted.

Muslim parties wanted the top court to reconsider the five-judge Constitution Bench in 1994 in M Ismail Faruqui case which said a mosque was not integral to Islam and Muslims could offer prayer anywhere. They apprehended that the 1994 ruling would adversely affect the outcome of the title dispute.

Hindus believe that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya thousands of years ago. During Mughal emperor Babar’s rule, a mosque was constructed at the place in 1528 after destroying the temples existing there.

The issue whether mosque is integral to Islam had cropped up when he three-judge bench headed by CJI Misra was hearing the batch of appeals filed against the Allahabad High Court’s 2010 verdict by which the disputed land on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid area was divided in three parts.

On 30 September 2010, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court gave a verdict which said that Hindus and Muslims were joint title-holders of the disputed land.

The three-judge bench – comprising Justice SU Khan, Justice Sudhir Agarwal and Justice DV Sharma – ruled in favour of a division of the land in a majority 2:1 judgment, with one-third going to the Sunni Waqf Board, one-third to the Nirmohi Akhara and one-third to the party for Ram Lalla. The dissenting judge gave all the land to Hindus. The apex court had, however, suspended the ruling in 2011 after the Hindu and Muslim groups had appealed against verdict. source: oneindia

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