THE SUPREME Court on Thursday dismissed a clutch of petitions seeking review of its December 9 judgment in the Ayodhya case, which cleared the way for construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site.
A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, which took up the petitions for consideration in-chamber, said it did “not find any ground… to entertain” them.
“Applications for listing of review petitions in open court are dismissed. The review petitions are dismissed. Pending applications stand disposed of… We have carefully gone through the review petitions and the connected papers filed therewith. We do not find any ground, whatsoever, to entertain the same,” the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna, said in its order.
Bringing to an end a seven-decade legal battle over the title to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya, the Supreme Court, in its unanimous November 9 verdict, had ruled that the entire disputed land be handed over to a trust to be constituted for construction of a Ram temple, and that the Muslim side be given 5 acres at “a suitable prominent place in Ayodhya” for building a mosque.
The Supreme Court had overturned the September 30, 2010 judgment of the Allahabad High Court, which had ordered three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acres between the deity Ramlalla Virajman, Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, and Nirmohi Akhara sect.
The review petitions had been filed by Maulana Syed Ashhad Rashidi, who is the legal heir of original litigant M Siddiq and the Uttar Pradesh president of the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind; five petitioners “supported” by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB); the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha; and Nirmohi Akhara among others.
In his plea, Rashidi contended that the November 9 judgment amounted to “rewarding” the crimes committed by “Hindu parties”. He said “complete justice… can only be done by directing” the Centre and Uttar Pradesh to carry out “the reconstruction of Babri Masjid”.
He said the Supreme Court has “acknowledged few of the several illegalities committed by the Hindu parties, particularly in 1934 (damaging the domes of the Babri Masjid), 1949 (desecrating the Babri Masjid), and 1992 (demolition of the Babri Masjid), but this Hon’ble Court has proceeded to condone the said illegal acts and has awarded the disputed site to the very party which based its claims on nothing but a series of illegal acts”.
The review petitions “supported” by the AIMPLB also cited similar concerns, and said the judgement “condones serious illegalities of destruction, criminal trespass and violation of rule of law, including damaging the mosque and eventually destroying it”.
The Hindu Mahasabha questioned the court’s decision to grant 5 acres to the Muslim side.
There was also a petition by 40 “concerned citizens” who were not party to the original litigation, including economist Prabhat Patnaik, historian Irfan Habib and activist Harsh Mander. Dismissing the pleas of those who were not party to the case, the court said: “Applications for permission to file review petitions are dismissed. In view of the denial of permission to file review petitions, applications for listing of review petitions in open court as well as review petitions are rejected.”