5-judge bench to hear Babri case? SC to rule – Press24 News


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court began hearing arguments on Wednesday on a critical issue — whether the 70-year-old legal battle between Hindu and Muslim communities over ownership of the nearly 3 acres of Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi disputed land should be sent to a five-judge bench.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer took into account arguments of senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing original plaintiff M Siddiq now replaced by his legal heir after his death, that the matter needed to be sent to a larger bench as a five-judge bench in Ismail Faruqui case had “wrongly” decided that Muslims do not need a mosque to pray.

In answering the meaning of mosque, the SC in Ismail Faruqui case had said Muslims did not need a mosque to pray and if this ruling stands, then it would be fatal to the Muslims’ arguments in the land dispute case. The land was acquired by the Centre through an ordinance, later converted into a law, on January 7, 1993, a month after a right-wing mob demolished it in the presence of top BJP functionaries, who are facing criminal trial in the case.

“It is this fallacious declaration that requires to be revisited by the Supreme Court. I find it objectionable that the SC said Muslims can pray anywhere. The judgment also took into account only the Hindus’ right to pray at a makeshift temple completely ignoring the rights of Muslims to pray. Moreover, there are two non-compoundable illegalities that stare at the court in this case,” Dhavan said.

He said Babri Masjid, dedicated by Babur, was rebuilt by the British in 1937 after it was damaged. “The locks of the gate were illegally opened in 1986 after idols were placed inside after criminally trespassing into the mosque. Then, the mosque was illegally demolished and the right of Muslims to pray there was taken away illegally,” Dhavan said.

The Ismail Faruqui judgment completely fell into error by ruling that mosques were not integral to prayers by Muslims, Dhavan said. “Even if a mosque is demolished, it continues to exist as a mosque, a property of Allah. Then, the land which belonged to the mosque was acquired by the government. Can the government have the courage to acquire Tirupati or Meenakshi temple? If there is any decency in our secular system, then the mosque should be rebuilt there,” he added.

Dhavan said every mosque was essential to the right of worship guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution, which also mandates that all religious places are to be treated with reverence. “Is Babri Masjid not to be treated with reverence? Is a Muslim’s right to worship not to be treated with reverence? Muslims do not have to prove that Babri Masjid was a super duper mosque. It is as important as the other one lakh mosques in India,” he said. He will continue arguments on March 23.

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