Ayodhya-verdict: How SC's judgment could change Babri Masjid dispute
In the afternoon on Thursday, the Supreme Court is set to deliver a crucial judgment which will have far-reaching consequences in the Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute. Headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, the three-judge bench will decide whether a mosque is needed for praying in Islam or should the case be referred to a larger bench of seven or nine judges.
Backstory: The Union of India v/s Ismail Faruqui case
In the 1994 Ismail Faruqui case, a five-judge Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court had noted that a mosque wasn't "an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam". This implied "its acquisition (by the state) is not prohibited by the provisions in the Constitution of India". Muslim groups argued the 'sweeping' verdict needed to be revisited, as it will affect Babri Masjid dispute.
Senior lawyer told SC previous judgment didn't consider religious texts
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan is representing M Siddiq's legal heir. Siddiq, one of the original litigants, died years ago. Dhavan told the bench, comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer, that the previous judgment of apex court was announced without any inquiry and didn't take religious texts into consideration. If the verdict is upheld, it will make their case weaker, he said.
Representative of government feels Muslim groups delaying the matter
Separately, the Uttar Pradesh government has argued that some Muslim groups intended to delay the verdict by bringing up the decades-old judgment. ASG Tushar Mehta, appearing for the government, said the 1994 verdict wasn't mentioned in pleas filed after 2010 verdict of Allahabad High Court. In 2010, the HC divided the disputed land into three parts for the Masjid, Ram Lalla and Nirmohi Akhada.
SC's verdict will affect politics of the nation
If the top court upholds the earlier verdict, it is likely that governing BJP will milk this verdict to its benefit in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. But if the case is referred to a larger bench, the BJP's promise of temple-construction, laced with chest-thumping, will fall flat and the dispute will go on for a few years. All eyes on SC now!