Agreeing to early hearing on a bunch of petitions relating to the dispute over ownership of 2.7 acres of Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi land, the Supreme Court has posted the case to August 11.
According to Times of India report, Appeals challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict on the disputed land will be heard by a three-judge bench. The matter was mentioned before Chief Justice J S Khehar on July 21 by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy who sought early adjudication of the decades-old dispute.
The CJI had assured Swamy of early listing and the case has now been posted for next week. “We are going to list the main matter soon. We will take a decision on it, ” the CJI had said.
Apart from starting hearing on the vexed issue, the apex court is also slated to deliver its verdict on the constitutional validity of triple talaq.
The Ayodhya issue has been pending in the SC since 2010 after Allahabad HC divided the land equally between ‘Ram Lalla’, Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Wakf Board.
Swamy said the main appeals against the HC order were pending in the apex court for the last seven years and they required urgent hearing. He has filed a separate petition seeking enforcement of his right to worship at the site.
In 2010, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad HC had ruled a three-way division of the 2.77 acres at the disputed site in Ayodhya. The three-judge bench, by a 2:1 majority, had said the land be partitioned equally among three parties, ‘Ram Lalla’, Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Wakf Board.
Meanwhile , The Ram Temple movement earlier got a boost when the Uttar Pradesh Shia central waqf board, one of the parties in the litigation, has favoured shifting of the demolished mosque to bring about a closure to the vexed dispute.
According to Times of India report, The Shia board has said that the mosque can be constructed away from the disputed land, a move that marks a dramatic shift in stand, and which it says can put to rest the 70-year legal battle.
The Shia board also suggested setting up of a high-power judicial-political panel headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to amicably settle the dispute. It pleaded the court appoint the committee also comprising two retired Allahabad high court judges, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, nominee of the Prime Minister besides representatives of litigating parties.
The board, in its affidavit filed in the apex court, submitted that the mosque be relocated from the “most revered place of birth of Maryada Purushottam Sri Ram” to a nearby Muslim dominated area to conclude the dispute over the 2.77 acres of land which houses a makeshift temple of Ram Lalla.
The Shia stand is however likely to pit the board against the Sunni Waqf Board. While Sunnis comprise a majority of Muslims in India, the decision of a section of the community represented through the Shia waqf board, is significant. This is the first time that religious board has favoured shifting of the mosque.
Taking a potshot at Sunni Waqf board, Shia Board said in its affidavit that Sunni Central Waqf Board should not be involved in exploring peaceful settlement of the dispute as “it is under the dominant control of hardliners, fanatics and no-believer in peaceful coexistence, who have absolutely no stakes in the case”.
The Shia board said, “It is of the view that closeness of place of worships— Masjid and Mandir— of the two litigating denominations, should be avoided in as much as both denominations using loudspeakers tend to disturb the religious performances of each other, often leading to conflicts, bringing acrimony between the two factions. The answering respondent is of the view that to bring quietus, Masjid can be located in a Muslim dominated area at a reasonable distance from the most revered place of birth of Maryada Purishottam Sri Ram.” The affidavit was filed by advocate MC Dhingra.