“To offer namaz is an essential practice of Islam, but to offer namaz at a mosque may not necessarily be an essential practice,” senior advocate K Parasaran, appearing for Ram Lalla Virajman, told a three-judge bench hearing the Ayodhya land dispute case on Thursday.
He was responding to senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan’s demand that the 1994 decision of apex court in K M Ismail Faruqui case in which it was held that “a mosque is not an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam…” and “accordingly, its acquisition is not prohibited by the provisions in the Constitution” be referred to a Constitution bench before any decision was taken on the main title suit. Dhavan contended that the verdict, which was “founded on a confusion regarding the application of the essential and/or integral test”, had impacted the September 2010 Allahabad High Court decision in Ayodhya title suit. The high court ordered a three-way partition of 2.77 acres between three parties to the dispute — Ram Lalla Virajman, Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Wakf Board.
Parasaran submitted that the court’s findings in the Faruqui case were in the limited context of acquisition under Ayodhya Act. Reconsideration of the ruling, he contended, will be a futile exercise as it is binding on the present appellants. The arguments remained inconclusive and will be heard again on July 6 after the summer recess.