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Are mosques integral to Islam? Key Supreme Court verdict expected today

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer will pronounce the verdict, which had reserved it on July 20

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce on Thursday its verdict on a batch of pleas by Muslim groups on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute seeking reconsideration by a larger bench, the observations made by it in a 1994 verdict that a mosque was not integral to Islam.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer will pronounce the verdict, which had reserved it on July 20.

M Siddiq, one of the original litigants of the who has died and is being represented through his legal heir, had assailed certain findings of the 1994 verdict in the case of M Ismail Faruqui holding that a mosque was not integral to the prayers offered by the followers of Islam.

It was argued by the Muslim groups before a special bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer that the "sweeping" observation of the apex court in the verdict needed to be reconsidered by a five-judge bench as "it had and will have a bearing" on the Babri Masjid-Ram Temple land dispute case.
 

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for legal representative of Siddiq, had said that the observation that mosques were not essential for practising Islam were made by the apex court without any enquiry or considering the religious texts.

The Uttar Pradesh government had earlier told the top court that some Muslim groups were trying to delay the hearing in the "long-pending" Ayodhya temple-mosque land dispute case by seeking reconsideration of the observation in the 1994 verdict that a mosque was not integral to Islam.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the UP government, had said this dispute has been awaiting final adjudication for "almost a century".

He had also said that the issue of the observation was neither taken up by any litigant since 1994, nor in the present appeals which were filed in 2010 after the high court's verdict.
 

The state government had said the law decided by the top court in the Ismail Farooqi case was "the correct law which does not deserve to be disturbed either by referring it as belatedly prayed for or otherwise".

Earlier, Hindu groups had opposed the plea of their Muslim counterparts that the 1994 verdict holding that a mosque was not integral to the prayers offered by the followers of Islam be referred to a larger bench.

The observations were made in the land acquisition matter pertaining to the Ayodhya site and the apex court had to consider two aspects as to whether a mosque could be acquired at all and whether a religious place of worship like a mosque, church or temple was immune from acquisition if it was a place of special significance for that religion and formed its essential and integral part.

The special bench of the apex court is seized of a total of 14 appeals filed against the high court judgement delivered in four civil suits.

A three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had in 2010 ordered that the land be partitioned equally among three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

First Published: Wed, September 26 2018. 21:35 IST
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