Babri Masjid row: Supreme Court refuses to refer Ayodhya case to larger bench, Justice Nazeer disagrees

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In a visible setback to Muslims, the Supreme Court on Thursday refused to revisit its 1994 order that the government could acquire land, where a mosque was built on.

Ayodhya
Photo: LiveLaw

Had the top court decided to revisit the 1994 Ismail Farooqui judgment that said that mosques were not an integral part of religious practice of offering prayers, it would have delayed the verdict on the title suit of Babri Masjid.

On Thursday, Justice Ashok Bhushan said on behalf of him and Chief Justice Dipak Misra that it will not be referred to a larger bench. He said that all religions and religious places needed to be equally respected. Ashoka’s edicts preach tolerance to faith of other, he added.

Justice Bhushan said that Farooqui case was not linked with the title dispute of Ayodhya case.

However, Justice Abdul Nazeer, who disagreed with the majority decision, said that the larger bench needed to decide what constituted essential religious practice.

The Supreme Court will now begin hearing on Ayodhya matter from October 29, 2018 to decide the suit on merit.

If the Supreme Court decided to revisit the issue of whether namaaz can be offered anywhere or in a mosque, then the hearing on the title suit challenging the Allahabad High Court’s judgement would have stopped and the verdict was not possible before 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

This would have been a setback to the BJP, which has promised to build a temple at the site of Babri Masjid. Faced with poor governance and huge corruption allegations, the Centre’s Narendra Modi government has been hoping a favourable judgement from the Supreme Court so that the saffron party is able to cash in on religious polarisation to win the next year’s elections.

While the proponents of Hindutva were jubilant on the verdict, there were many who appeared critical of the top court for being divided along the religious lines.

Here are some examples:

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