SC to mull if Ayodhya row can be referred to Constitution bench

The court also said that it cannot force parties to go for settlement
Last Updated : 14 March 2018, 19:22 IST

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A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra declined to allow any intervention and impleadment in the matter and said only original parties to the dispute would be heard.

The court also said that it cannot force parties to go for settlement while clarifying that it cannot say no to the amicable resolution to the vexed dispute between Hindus and Muslim.

The bench, also comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, allowed senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, representing the Muslims side, to advance his contention as to why the matter should be referred to the Constitution bench.

Dhawan, appearing for M Siddiq, assailed the SC's five-judge ruling of 1994 in 'Dr M Ismail Faruqui and Ors vs Union of India & Ors' that held that mosque did not form an essential part of the practice of Islam.

"If one accepts the judgement, our (title) case is severely damaged," he contended.

"The court has to decide what is the meaning of 'mosque'. The judgement is on the ground that Muslims can pray anywhere and it does not make any difference whether it is a mosque or not. So do we take it that a mosque is not essential and integral," Dhawan submitted. He also maintained the Babri mosque was trespassed illegally and finally demolished in 1992 and the Hindus continued to offer worship over there.

However, the bench said, "We have to be satisfied first about referring the matter to a larger bench. We are not taking it for a moment that it should be referred to the larger bench."

"After due deliberation, we have thought it appropriate that we should hear Dhawan whether the judgment in Dr M Ismail Faruqui requires reconsideration," the bench said.

The counsel, representing the Hindus sides, opposed Dhawan's submission. The Faruqui verdict is binding on this court and, therefore, if the occasion so arises and the context so requires, the  matter may be considered at that stage, they said. Uttar Pradesh counsel Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said there are different stages when a matter can be referred to the Constitution bench.

Senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, also representing the Hindus side, however, submitted it is requisite that the said controversy should be put to an end.

After hearing the arguments for a while, the court put the  civil appeal arising out of 2010 Allahabad High Court judgement,  for further consideration on March 23.

Published 14 March 2018, 19:16 IST

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