Babri Masjid case: SC to re-examine 1994 verdict holding ‘offering prayers in mosque not essential in Islam’
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to examine the correctness of its 1994 verdict holding that “offering namaz in a mosque is not an essential and integral part of Islam and Muslims can offer prayers anywhere”, the Asian Age reported.
A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer agreed to examine this after senior counsel Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for one of the Muslim parties, submitted that the 1994 verdict was wrong and needed to be reconsidered. The bench told the counsel that it would refer the matter to a larger bench that would examine the issues raised by Dhawan.
According to the report, Dhawan pointed out that the 1994 verdict ordering “status quo” on installation of the Ram idol at the disputed site recognised Hindus’ right to worship at that place but completely ignored the rights of Muslims to offer namaz at the Babri Masjid, saying that offering namaz in a mosque “is not an essential and integral part of Islam”. He said the court had also taken a view that a mosque need not be rebuilt at this site. He said the Allahabad high court, while deciding the title suit in 2010, had apportioned one-third of the land to Hindus, one-third to Muslims and one-third to Ram Lulla, relying on the status quo order of 1994.
The apex court also rejected all pleas seeking to intervene in the ongoing Babri Masjid-Ram janmabhoomi title suit case. The top court’s order came on the heels of objections put forward by counsels representing the original parties on both sides.
The Special Bench, comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and SA Najeeb, accepted the contention that only original parties to the dispute should be allowed to advance arguments in this case. After a brief hearing on this issue, the bench further accepted that intervention applications of unrelated persons seeking to be impleaded as parties should be rejected.
“Having heard learned counsel for the parties, we are of the considered opinion that these interlocutory applications do not merit any consideration and they are accordingly rejected,” a special bench of the top court said. “We further direct the Registry not to entertain any interlocutory applications for intervention/ impleadment/ for filing any book or additional documents/ for seeking permission to give assistance in these appeals from any third party,” the bench, led by Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra, added.
BJP leader Subramanium Swamy objected to the contentions made and submitting that his writ petition seeking his fundamental right to pray was converted to an intervention application at the court’s instance. Though the attempt at intervention was rejected, the top court revived Swamy’s original petition where he sought his fundamental right to pray at the Ram temple on the disputed site in Ayodhya.
“I had filed a writ petition saying that I have a fundamental right to worship and this is a superior right than the property right,” Swamy had said before the three-judge bench on Wednesday.
The controversial structure known as Babri Masjid was razed to the ground by Karsevaks on December 6, 1992. The court is hearing 13 appeals against a 2010 judgement by Allahabad High Court on four civil suits filed over the title of the land that is known to Hindus as the ‘Ram Janmabhoomi’, or the land where Hindu God Lord Ram was born.
A three-judge Bench of the Allahabad High Court, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had ordered the partition of the land equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and the deity, Ram Lalla.