New Delhi: In a new twist to the Ayodhya title dispute, the Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to examine the correctness of its 1994 verdict holding that “offering namaz in a mosque is not an essential and integral part of Islam and Muslims can offer prayers anywhere”.
A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer agreed to examine this after senior counsel Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for one of the Muslim parties, submitted that the 1994 verdict was wrong and needed to be reconsidered.
The Bench told the counsel that it would refer the matter to a larger bench that would examine the issues raised by Mr Dhawan.
The Bench asked Mr Dhawan to submit legal propositions by March 23 on why the matter required reconsideration by a larger bench of five judges.
Senior counsel K. Parasaran, C.S. Vaidyanathan and others agreed the issue raised by 1994 verdict could be examined as a preliminary issue. If it is examined by a five-judge bench as a preliminary question, then there is a possibility of delay in deciding the Ayodhya title suits.
The Bench dismissed the intervention applications filed by third parties who are not connected with the title suit.
When an applicant said that 10,523 residents of Ayodhya and Faizabad had signed a statement of compromise for the dispute, the Bench said such a compromise could be effected outside the court, as the present dispute was purely a legal issue.
Mr Dhawan pointed out that the 1994 verdict ordering “status quo” on installation of the Ram idol at the disputed site recognised Hindus’ right to worship at that place but completely ignored the rights of Muslims to offer namaz at the Babri Masjid, saying that offering namaz in a mosque “is not an essential and integral part of Islam”. He said the court had also taken a view that a mosque need not be rebuilt at this site.
He said the Allahabad high court, while deciding the title suit in 2010, had apportioned one-third of the land to Hindus, one-third to Muslims and one-third to Ram Lulla, relying on the status quo order of 1994....