New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said it would decide whether to refer to a larger bench the issue of revisiting the entire 1994 verdict dealing with the acquisition of the disputed land in Ayodhya or parts of it.
One of the original litigants in the Ayodhya land dispute, M Siddiq, who is no more and is being represented through a legal heir, is questioning certain findings of a 1994 verdict that a mosque is not integral to the prayers offered by the followers of Islam. “First, we should put this controversy to rest. We may refer the entire or parts of the judgement to a larger bench,” the 3-judge special bench said. The 1994 verdict had said that mosque was not an essential part of Islamic religious practice and that ‘namaz’ could be offered anywhere, even in open places.
Senior lawyer Rajeev Dhavan, too, said the matter needed to be reconsidered by a five-judge bench; without rectifying these anomalies on aspects like the status of mosques in Islam, the civil appeals cannot be decided effectively. “A mosque remains a mosque even after its demolition and belongs to the ‘Allah’,” he said. Dhavan further submitted that the 1994 judgement had said that the fundamental right to worship does not extend to place of worship.
Describing the December 6, 1992, demolition of the Babri Masjid as a “barbaric act”, Dhavan said: “What was desecrated was a mosque and what the court is being asked to protect are the idols (of Ram Lalla).” Submitting that the government can acquire the place of worship, Dhavan said: “It is abundantly clear that a mosque should be treated at par with any temple” and “Ramjanmabhoomi is equal to a mosque”.
Referring to “two powerful Rath Yatras” led by senior BJP leader L.K. Advani, Dhavan told the bench that “there was strident, calculated and deliberate attempt to destroy Babri Masjid”. In the last hearing of the matter on March 14, Dhavan had told the court that if the position in the 1994 judgement was to accepted then except for Makkah, Madinah and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, rest of the mosques will be of no consequence to Muslims. On the next hearing on April 5, Dhavan will address the court on what mosque means to Islam.