New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said that further orders in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute would be passed by an appropriate bench on 10 January. Accordingly, on that day, the matter will be listed before a newly constituted three-judge bench which will decide the way forward.
Despite attempts for an early hearing in the case, it has been on the back burner for a while. The issue could potentially become central to 2019 Lok Sabha elections, thereby further polarizing voter preferences.
The apex court had on 27 September refused to refer to a larger bench its 1994 judgement holding that a mosque was not integral to the practice of Islam. The issue had arisen from a judgement in the Ismail Faruqui vs Union of Indiacase where the court considered the acquisition of a religious place and held that a mosque was not integral to the practice of Islam.
On 7 February, the court had said that the matter would be heard as a “pure land dispute”, directed the registry to complete all procedural requirements and asked the parties to bring on record all documents, exhibits, translations etc. for final arguments.
The court is hearing a total of 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgment of the Allahabad high court in four civil suits. They challenge the high court verdict that mandated a three-way division of the disputed 2.77-acre site.
The Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court had ruled in favour of partitioning the land equally among three parties-the Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and ‘Ram Lalla' (infant Lord Ram), represented by the Hindu Mahasabha.
A civil suit for deciding the title of the property on which the Babri Masjid stood before it was demolished on 6 December 1992 had been filed before the high court. The apex court stayed this decision in 2011.
The Shia Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh told the Supreme Court in August that it was amenable to building a mosque in a Muslim-dominated area, at a reasonable distance from the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.