Ayodhya Land Dispute: SC Declines to Revisit Its 1994 Judgment and Refer It to Larger Bench (Download PDF)


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SC declined to refer 1994 Ismail Farooqui judgment that mosques are not integral to Islam to larger constitution bench. Judgement was delivered by 3-judge bench w/2: 1 majority. Majority judgement was written by Justice Ashok Bhushan on behalf of himself & Chief Justice Deepak Misra. 3rd judge, Justice Abdul Nazeer presented dissenting judgment.

Image of Divided History

Image of Divided History

Image of Divided History

  • Decision to not refer issue of reconsideration of 1994 observations on Ayodhya-Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute case to 5-judge constitution bench paves way for apex court to hear main Ayodhya land dispute.

Key Highlights of the Judgment

  • Apex court bench headed by Chief Justice said that present case on Ayodhya land dispute shall be decided on its own facts & Ismail Faruqui judgment would have no impact on it.

  • Justice Ashok Bhushan, said that court has to find out context in which 5-judge had delivered 1994 judgement.

  • He said that statement in Faruqui case was in limited context of immunity claimed by petitioners for mosque from acquisition & added that it need not be read broadly to mean mosque can never be essential to practice of Islam.

  • Justice S Abdul Nazeer disagreed w/2 judges & said whether mosque is integral to Islam has to be decided considering belief of religion & it requires detailed consideration.

  • He referred to recent SC order on female genital mutilation & said that present matter should be heard by larger bench.

  • Civil suit on land dispute will now be heard by newly constituted 3-judge bench on 29th Oct. as Justice Misra is scheduled to retire as CJI on 2nd Oct.

Image of A matter of Faith

Image of A Matter of Faith

Image of A matter of Faith

Background of the Judgement

  • Issue whether mosque is integral to Islam had cropped up when 3-judge SC bench headed by CJI Misra was hearing batch of petitions challenging Allahabad High Court’s 2010 verdict by which disputed land on Ram Janmabhoomi - Babri Masjid area was to be divided in 3 parts.

  • Allahabad high court, in 2: 1 majority ruling, had ordered that 2.77 acres of land be divided equally among 3 concerned parties - Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara & Ram Lalla represented by Hindu Maha Sabha.

Ismail Faruqui Judgement

  • In 1994, SC had ruled that namaz or prayers could be offered anywhere & that mosque was not necessary.

  • This cleared way for govt. to acquire land where 16th century Babri mosque was demolished by large crowd of Hindu Kar Sevaks.

  • Site is considered by some of Hindus to be Ram Janmabhoomi, & so they feel that Ram temple should be built at site.

  • Decades-old verdict played big role in disputed land in Ayodhya being divided in 2010 into 3 parts by Allahabad High Court.

  • Organizations argue that “sweeping” observation of apex court in 1994 verdict needed to be reconsidered by 5-judge bench as “it had & will have bearing” on Babri Masjid-Ram Temple land dispute case.

- Published/Last Modified on: November 12, 2018

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