Ayodhya mosque-Islam case: No seven-judge bench, says SC
New Delhi, September 27: The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to refer to a five-judge Constitution bench the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgment that a mosque was not integral to Islam which had arisen during the hearing of Ayodhya land dispute. In a majority verdict of 2:1, the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the civil suit had to be decided on the basis of evidence and the previous verdict had no relevance on it. Justice Ashok Bhushan, who read out the judgment for himself and the CJI, said it had to find out the context in which the five-judge had delivered the 1994 judgment. Justice S Abdul Nazeer disagreed with the two judges and said whether mosque is integral to Islam had to be decided considering belief of religion and it required detailed consideration. He referred to the recent Supreme Court order on female genital mutilation and said the present matter be heard by a larger bench. The apex court said now the civil suit on land dispute would be heard by a newly constituted three-judge bench on October 29 as Justice Misra would retire on October 2 as the CJI. The issue whether mosque is integral to Islam had cropped up when the three-judge bench headed by CJI Misra was hearing a batch of appeals filed against the Allahabad High Court’s 2010 verdict by which the disputed land on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid area was divided in three parts. A three-judge bench of the high court, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had ordered that the 2.77 acres of land be partitioned equally among three parties–the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.