New Delhi: The Ayodhya temple-mosque land dispute will be taken up in the first week of January, the Supreme Court said on Monday, virtually ruling out any chance of a decision on the vexed issue any time before the Lok Sabha polls in May 2019.
“We have our own priorities… whether hearing would take place in January, March or April would be decided by an appropriate bench,” said Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, rejecting the Uttar Pradesh government’s plea for an urgent hearing on the ground that it was a 100-year-old dispute.
Hinting that the court may conduct daily hearings in the matter from January 2019, the bench, including Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph, clarified that the appeals would come up in January first week before a bench “not for hearing but for fixing the date of hearing”.
A three-judge bench headed by the former CJI Dipak Misra had on September 27 rejected the plea to re-open the 1994 ruling which held that a mosque is not an essential aspect of Islam and namaz (prayer) by Muslims can be offered anywhere, even in open.
The court had rejected the arguments that the observations made by the Constitution Bench in 1994 had influenced the decisions made by the Allahabad High Court in 2010 while allocating two-third share of the disputed site in Ayodhya to Hindus and one-third to Sunni Wakf board.
The court had said that the questionable observations came to be made in the conclusion that places of religious worship like mosques, churches, temples etc. can be acquired under the state’s sovereign power of acquisition....