• SC Dismisses Plea For Speedy Hearing In Ayodhya Land Dispute Case

    Apoorva Mandhani

    January 4, 2019

    The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition to hear the Ayodhya land dispute on an urgent and day-to-day basis.

    The PIL had been filed by Advocate Harinath Ram in view of the "inordinate delay" in the adjudication of the Ram Janam Bhumi Matter, and in "recognition of the prevailing sentiments, surrounding, the entire nation and there is imminent danger of public outburst which can engulf our country in flames of violence on Ram Janam Bhumi issue".

    The delay, he had asserted, "has sent a huge consternation to the general public at large about the effectiveness of the justice delivery system by the apex court of our country."

    The bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S. K. Kaul, however, dismissed the PIL. It also said that further order in the case will be passed by an appropriate bench on January 10.

    A three judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising CJI Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Abdul Nazeer had, on September 27, decided by 2:1 majority that there was no need to refer the matter to a larger bench.

    The request for reference was made by Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, the counsel for Sunni Waqf Board, on the premise that the observation in the Constitution Bench judgment in Ismail Faruqui case that "offering namaz in mosque is not an essential feature of Islam" required reconsideration.

    The majority of the then CJI Misra and Justice Bhushan had, however, opined that the said observation in Faruqui was not relevant in determining the title dispute of Ayodhya-Babri Masjid land. It had held that the observations in Faruqui were made in the context of deciding the issue whether a mosque could claim immunity from land acquisition proceedings.

    However, dissenting from this view, Justice Abdul Nazeer had held that the observations in Faruqui case influenced the High Court decision in the title suit, and hence required reconsideration by a larger bench. After declining the plea for reference to larger bench, the majority had fixed the next date of hearing as October 29.

    Thereafter, in December 2017, a plea for postponing the hearing after 2019 Lok Sabha polls was made by Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan and Dushyant Dave, on the ground that the political climate was not conducive for hearing the dispute. However, a bench of then CJI Misra had then turned down the plea, after a dramatic hearing session.


     

    First published in Live Law.

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