Ayodhya dispute: SC rejects all 32 intervention pleas; 9 key developments

Topics Ayodhya case

Photo: ANI
The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected all 32 intervention petitions and posted the next hearing in the Ramjanmabhumi-Babri Masjid land dispute case for March 23. 

Applications of several petitions were filed earlier, including renowned filmmaker Shyam Benegal, actress Aparna Sen, columnist and writer Anil Dharker and social activist Teesta Setalvad who suggested that the disputed land be put to “secular use” rather than dividing it on a religious basis.

The apex court also rejected the plea of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who sought to intervene in the ongoing matter.

The court, however, ordered revival of Swamy's disposed of writ petition in which he had sought enforcement of his fundamental right to worship at Ram temple on the disputed site in Ayodhya.

During the hearing, Swamy told the apex court that "my fundamental rights are higher than my property rights".

"I had filed a writ petition saying that I have a fundamental right to worship and this is a superior right than property right," Swamy said.

Ironically enough, Swamy was instrumental in requesting the SC on March 21 last year for an early hearing of the Ayodhya dispute, proposing to the then CJI J S Khehar-led Bench for a cordial yet negotiated settlement. 

A special Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S A Najeeb accepted the contention that only original parties to the dispute be allowed to advance arguments in the case and the intervention applications of unrelated persons seeking implement as parties will be rejected.

Here are the top developments around the Supreme Court hearing in the Ram Janmabhumi-Babri Masjid land dispute:

1. Supreme Court to hear only original litigants: The Supreme Court dismissed the petitions of activists like Shyam Benegal and Teesta Setalvad to intervene in the Babri Masjid-Ram Temple land dispute case, making it clear that only the parties to the original lawsuit would be allowed to put forth their arguments. 

ALSO READ:  Babri-Ram temple title case: SC rejects interim pleas seeking intervention

Speaking to PTI, the Bench, which also comprised Justices Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, said: "We are of the considered opinion that these interlocutory applications do not merit any consideration and they are accordingly rejected."

The Bench further directed its registry "not to entertain any interlocutory applications for intervention or impediment". It, however, said that the parties could file additional papers.

2. Bench asks senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for M Ismail Siddiq, to present his arguments: The Bench, after deciding the fate of the pleas for intervention, proceeded with the hearing and asked senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for M Siddiq, to argue and persuade it as to why these matters should be sent to a larger Bench.

Dhavan referred to the apex court judgment delivered in 1994 on a plea filed by M Ismail Faruqui and said the verdict had made an unwarranted comment that mosques were not integral to prayer offered by followers of Islam.

ALSO READ: Activists out of Ayodhya land dispute; SC to hear original litigants

He said that "a mosque remains a mosque" and the land where the structure was there belongs to the 'Allah' even after the demolition.

"We must immediately make it clear that our addressing the said issue shall singularly relate to whether this Bench should think of, that the dictum in M Ismail Faruqui requires reconsideration and, in that event, we may pass appropriate orders for placing the matter before a five-Judge bench for consideration of the said judgment, the bench said according to PTI reports.

3. Supreme Court to form a 5-judge Bench for Babri case? A special Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it would first decide if the Babri dispute case appeals should be sent to a five-judge constitution Bench as sought by lead petitioner M Siddiq (since deceased), represented by legal heirs in the case.

"Counsel for appellants, as well as the respondents in all the appeals, have raised objections for such intervention/ impediment/ filing additional documents/ seeking permission to render assistance.

4. Apex court posts case for further hearing on March 23: The Supreme Court posted the matter for further hearing on March 23. The court is hearing a total of 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgment of the Allahabad high court in four civil suits. They challenge the Allahabad high court verdict that mandated a three-way division of the disputed 2.77-acre site.

5. Muslims should support the construction of Ram temple: Giriraj Singh: Union Minister Giriraj Singh on Wednesday said that Muslims should follow in the footsteps of Shia Waqf Board and support the construction of Ram temple on the disputed site.

"I believe our side is stronger. We will respect the court's decision but I would say that the way our Shia brothers have extended support to build the Ram temple, other Muslim brothers should also do so, and let go of their obstinacy because we both are descendants of Hindus," Singh told ANI.

6. Partitioning of the disputed land: The Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court had earlier ruled in favour of partitioning the land equally among three parties-the Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and the 'Ram Lalla' (infant Lord Ram), represented by the Hindu Mahasabha.

7. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar compares India to Syria: In a statement that could add further fuel to the controversial Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi controversy, the Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Monday said India will turn into Syria if the Ram temple issue is not resolved soon.

ALSO READ: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar likens India to Syria, gets trolled: Top 10 highlights

In an interview with a news channel, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, "If Ram Mandir issue is not solved, we will have a Syria in India." While the spiritual guru later clarified his remark, he was slammed by leaders from different political parties, who called it 'provocative'. "Sri Sri Ravi Shankar should refrain from giving out such provocative statements," senior Janata Dal (United) leader K C Tyagi told reporters.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday slammed spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for his 'Syria-like situation in India' remark.

"He does not believe in the constitution, he does not believe in the law. He feels he is the law himself. He feels he is so big that everyone should listen to what he says. He is not neutral," he added.

8. Modi govt has failed on both Hindutva and development says Praveen Togadia: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Pravin Togadia on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of taking U-turns on promises made ahead of the May 2014 Lok Sabha polls, including construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya, and said his government had failed to meet people's aspirations in four years.

In a four-page letter to the Prime Minister, Togadia raised issues ranging from the Ram temple at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh to the ban on cow slaughter, repeal of Article 370 and 35A related to Jammu and Kashmir from the Constitution, Uniform Civil Code, and issues related to farmers and labourers.

He warned the government about what he said was "rising discontent" among the people, especially those affiliated to the Sangh Parivar.

9. The case: On December 6, 1992, the mosque was demolished by lakhs ofkarsevaks had claimed that the land on which the mosque stood was the birthplace of Ram.

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