PTI Photo by Atul Yadav
PTI Photo by Atul Yadav

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it has no problem if the parties settle the Ayodhya dispute among themselves, but it will not ask them to do so as its limited task is to decide the title of the disputed 2.77 acres of site divided by the Allahabad High Court in 2010 to the Nirmohi Akhara, Lord Ram deity and the Sunni Waqf Board.

On the plea by former Union Minister Arif Mohammad Khan that two professors of MIT Pune have drawn a plan to convert the disputed site into place of worship for all religions and teaching of their spiritual tenets, Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the professors can approach the court if they speak to the parties and succeed in their endeavour.

The Bench, which also included Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, also refused to issue notice to Sunni Wakf Board and Nirmohi Akhara, the main contestants, to arrive at a compromise. It decided not to hear anybody except the contestants in the case: M. Siddiqui represented by his legal heirs, the Nirmohi Akhara, the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, Bhagwan Shri Ram Virajman, All India Hindu Mahasabha’s Swami Chakrapani, the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha and the Akhil Bharatiya Sri Ramjanam Bhoomi Punardhar Samiti.

The Bench also agreed to a contention of senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan to  examine if the case should be transferred to a larger 5-judge Constitution Bench. “We will decide that first and then proceed further,” the CJI said. On those representing Ramlala and Nirmohi Akhara resisting reference to the larger Bench, the CJI explained: that the court cannot ignore in view of that principle emerging from an earlier five-judge bench.

Dhavan, who appeared for lead petitioner late M Siddiqui, had referred to a 1994 judgment that the mosque is not an integral part of religious practice of offering prayer. If this position is accepted, then no mosque will be of consequence to the Muslims except for Mecca, Madina and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem also known as Temple Mount, he argued.

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