Islam will collapse if prayers in mosque not recognised, SC told
New Delhi: Islam is a congregational religion and it will “collapse and become irrelevant” if the practice of offering prayers in mosques is not recognised, argued senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan in the Supreme Court on Friday.
Dhavan, appearing for the main petitioner M Siddiq, made this submission before a three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer, hearing the appeals relating to the title dispute in the Ramjanmabhoomi site at Ayodhya.
Dhavan reiterated that 1994 Constitution Bench verdict holding that “Mosque is not an essential and integral part of Islam and Muslims can do their prayer anywhere was not correctly decided.”
Quoting various scriptures, counsel argued that mosques are not built for fun. “Offering prayers in mosques is an essential aspect of religious practice. If you take away the congregational prayer, then Islam will collapse. Islam will become irrelevant if this religious practice is not recognised. The 1994 judgment has taken away the right to offer prayers without any material and without any adjudication and this requires reconsideration,” he added.
The Supreme Court resumed hearing the Babri Masjid-Ram Temple land dispute case today.
When Dhavan submitted that the observation of the 1994 judgment had influenced the Allahabad High Court in deciding the title suit, Justice Nazeer agreed with him. The Judge orally observed, “Offering prayers is a necessary religious practice for every religion”.
Dhavan faulted the 1994 verdict contending that the court could not have made such a sweeping statement, which had affected the decision in the title suit. Dhavan pointed out that the 1994 verdict ordering status quo on the installation of Ram idol in the disputed site, recognised Hindus right to worship at that place but completely ignored the rights of Muslims to offer namaz in the Babri Masjid observing that offering namaz in mosque “is not an essential and integral part of Islam”. He said the court had also taken a view that mosque need not be re-built at this site.
Senior counsel C S Vaidyanathan, appearing for one of the Hindu groups in the appeals, refuted the argument of Dhavan and said the title suit was decided based on facts and other materials. The High Court did not decide the title suit on the basis of one observation in the 1994 judgment, which was never argued in the High Court. There was no reason to revisit this issue again, he said.
Appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the observation in the 1994 judgment was never challenged in any of the proceedings. None of the parties to the present proceedings or anyone else disputed the correctness or otherwise of the said judgment by taking out any proceedings which may be permissible in law.
He said the present group of appeals under section 96 of Code of Civil Procedure wherein the civil rights are being adjudicated upon, remained pending before this Court for almost eight long years and the parties which are now belatedly raising an unsustainable plea, chose not to raise any such plea at all during all these years also. The present attempt is a belated attempt to avoid judicial adjudication of a long-pending dispute, which, from the chronology stated above, demonstrates lack of bonafide.
The ASG said it is a settled position in law that in any judicial proceedings and more particularly in civil proceedings governed by the Code of Civil Procedure, the suit/appeals are required to be heard strictly in accordance with the Code of Civil Procedure and no litigant can be permitted to take belated pleas to avoid judicial adjudication.
It is the respectful and emphatic submission of the State Government that the law decided by this Court in 1994 is the correct law which does not deserve to be disturbed either by referring it to a Constitution Bench as belatedly prayed for or otherwise. Arguments will continue on July 13.