The Supreme Court will pronounce its judgment today on whether offering namaaz in mosques was an integral part of Islam. The bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Abdul Nazeer had reserved their judgement on 20 July.
This was after Muslim litigants filed pleas seeking direction that a larger Constitution bench hear the batch of petitions challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict which directed splitting into three parts the site, where Babri Masjid existed until 6 December 1992. Hindutva zealots had demolished the 16th century mosque in 1992.
The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court in its 30 September, 2010, verdict had ordered that the site in Ayodhya be split into three parts with one being given to deity (Ramlala Virajmaan), another for Nirmohi Akhara (a Hindu sect) and the third to the Muslims litigants. The case a turn after the Uttar Pradesh government, which is not a party in the title suit, questioned the ‘belated efforts’ by Muslim litigants seeking a relook at the 1994 Ismail Farooqui judgment that had said that mosques were not an integral part of religious practice of offering prayers.
During the course of the hearing Justice Bhushan had observed that nobody was questioning that mosque is essential to Islam, but the question is whether offering namaz in mosque was essential, reported IANS.
If the Supreme Court decides 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 will stop and the verdict will not be possible before 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
This will be 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.