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SC Declines To Refer Ayodhya Case To Larger Bench

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SC Declines To Refer Ayodhya Case To Larger Bench
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SC clarifies that observations In Faruqi case regarding mosque will not impact title dispute; will not revisit 1994 Ismail Farooqi case judgement; Justice Nazeer Dissents

New Delhi: The Supreme Court by 2:1 majority declined to refer Ayodhya-Ram Janmabhoomi land dispute case to larger bench. The Majority Judgment was written by Justice Ashok Bhushan for himself and Chief Justice Dipak Misra. Justice Abdul Nazeer disagreed with the majority opinion.

"No case has been made out to refer the case to the Constitution Bench," Justice Ashok Bhushan said reading out the judgement on behalf of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and on his own behalf.

However, Justice SA Naseer disagreed with the verdict read by Justice Ashok Bhushan, and opined that this is a case that should be referred to a larger constitutional bench. A decision on such an issue has to be taken by a constitutional bench. He clarified that the issue whether a Muslim mosque is an integral part of prayer is to be examined by a constitutional bench.

The majority opinion expressed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Ashok Bhushan clarified that the observations in paragraph 52 of Ismail Faruqi judgment of 1994, that mosque was not an integral part of Islam have to be understood in the context of land acquisition proceedings. Ismail Faruqui had held that a religious place cannot claim immunity from compulsory acquisition, and the observations regarding mosque were made in that context.

In the 1994 Ismail Farooqi case, a five-member bench of the Supreme Court had decided that a mosque is not essential for Muslims to pray. Prayers can be held anywhere, and a mosque is only meant for a gathering. The verdict had also decreed that government could acquire mosques if necessary.

The Sunni Waqf Board argued that the pronouncements contained in the 1994 judgement were prejudicial to Muslim community and had to be revisited. The Central and UP governments opposed this contention.

The judgment authored by Justice Ashok Bhushan for himself and CJI Misra held that Faruqui case was not concerned with the title dispute in the present suits.

The Supreme court had earlier made it clear the Babari Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute would be considered and decided on the merits as land dispute case, unrelated to religious dimensions.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Abdul Nazeer reserved the order on July 20 on a string of appeals against the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court in the Ram Janmabhumi-Babri Masjid dispute.

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