Ayodhya dispute: The wait gets longer, apex court sets April 27 for next hearing

Supreme Court said on Friday it would not refer Ayodhya land dispute case to Constitution Bench immediately and asked parties to satisfy it in law. A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, asked the Sunni Waqf Board and other Muslim groups to continue their arguments on April 27 on the point that why this case should be referred to a larger bench of the Apex Court.

The Ayodhya land dispute hearing started in the Supreme Court on Friday with a spark. Senior lawyer Rajeev Dhavan asked Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh to “sit down” & “not talk nonsense”.

ASG Singh & ASG Tushar Mehta countered him, and said, Dr Dhavan has perhaps done a crash course in arrogance. After hearing this, the Chief Justice kept quiet. Sunni Waqf Board and other Muslim parties asked the Supreme Court if polygamy is a more important issue than this.

“You referred the polygamy case directly to the Constitution Bench. Why should I argue now about this? Or you tell the whole world polygamy is more important”, Dr Dhavan submitted to the Apex Court.

The Supreme Court fixed April 27 as the next date of hearing in the Ayodhya land dispute case.  Dr Rajeev Dhavan, who is appearing for one of the Muslim parties in the case, pleaded to the Apex Court, to give a ruling on the issue of referring to a larger Bench, citing that the press is here and people of India wanted to know of SC’s decision.

Dr Dhavan said the SC had recently sent a petition challenging polygamy in Muslim community to a five-judge bench saying it is an important issue. On that logic Ayodhya land dispute is far more important and should be immediately sent to five-judge bench.

Appearing for the original plaintiff in the case, Dhavan had argued that the matter should be referred to a five-judge bench, which would be a larger bench, because a 1994 Supreme Court judgment in Ismail Farooqui case had made an illegal comment that Mosques are not integral to prayer by Muslims.

The Supreme Court on March 14 had rejected as many as 32 applications filed by 32 eminent persons, including Shyam Benegal, Aparna Sen, Anil Dharkar and Teesta Setalvad, who had sought to argue the Ram Janmbhoomi Babri masjid dispute case.

The Allahabad High Court had in its 2010 judgment divided the 2.77 acre disputed land equally between three parties – deity Ram Lalla, Sunni Wakf Board and Nirmohi Akhara.
The appeals against the Allahabad High Court order had been pending in the Top Court for last eight years.


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