Why is Supreme Court Delaying Ayodhya Verdict?
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, observed that it will not revisit the 1994 judgement in the Ismail Faruqui case – that mosques are not an integral part of Islam. The apex court observed that it will not refer the matter to a larger bench.
Had the apex court ruled in favour of the petitioners and referred the case to a larger bench, the hearing in the main Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit would have been significantly delayed. The hearing in the title suit will begin on October 29.
First of all, the latest verdict does not decide the final status of who owns the disputed Ayodhya land; rather, it has just reaffirmed an earlier verdict in a related petition. The majority of the verdict on Thursday was pronounced by Justice Ashok Bhushan on the behalf of himself and CJI Dipak Misra, meanwhile, Justice S Abdul Nazeer had a dissenting view in a 2:1 verdict.
The apex court has made clear that the verdict should be read only in the context of the present matter (in which the petitioners from the mosque sought for immunity from acquisition) and should not be read broadly to interpret that a mosque can never be essential to the practice of Islam.
“It need not be read broadly to mean mosque can never be essential to the practice of Islam,” Justice Bhushan said. “We have to find out the context of the observations raised by the petitioner. The most elaborate principle has been laid down for interpretation. The constitution bench had laid down that every property whether it be temple Church or mosque is liable to be acquired. The statement ‘a mosque is not an essential practice of religion’ was in the context of the issue of ether land could be acquired. It was in response to the question brought up before the court. The issue was whether the mosque had immunity from the acquisition,” Bhushan observed.
Justice Nazeer had a dissenting view: He said the matter requires a detailed consideration and should have been referred to a larger bench.
The current ruling will have no bearing on the outcome of the main title suit (hearing from October 29). Referring the petitions to a larger bench would mean further delay in hearing the case- and therefore verdict. The observation has cleared the decks for a speedy resolution of the matter on who owns the disputed land. The 1994 judgement in the Ismail Faruqui case won’t affect the outcome of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case.