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Consensus nowhere in sight as Supreme court hearing on Ayodha title suit nears

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Friday said the bench that will hear a batch of cross petitions challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment on the Ayodhya title suit will decide the future course of the hearing.

Taking up the applications for early hearing, a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Krishan Kaul said further orders on the course of the hearing will be passed by the bench which will be constituted on January 10.

On October 28, the SC had said that the matter will be listed in the first week of January for fixing the date of hearing. The bench also dismissed on Friday another petition which sought for time-bound hearing of the matter, according to

The Allahabad High Court had in 2010 trifurcated the disputed site, giving one portion each to Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and the original Muslim litigant.

Earlier, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, the counsel for Sunni Waqf Board had requested Supreme Court to revisit the observation of the Constitution Bench judgment in Ismail Faruqui case that “offering namaz in mosque is not an essential feature of Islam” and that the matter should be referred to a larger bench.

On September 27 last, a three judges bench of the then CJI Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Abdul Nazeer had decided by 2:1 majority that there was no need to refer the matter to larger bench.

The majority of the then CJI Misra and Justice Bhushan opined that the said observation in Faruqui case was not relevant in determining the title dispute of Ayodhya-Babri Masjid land and that the observations in Faruqui case were made in the context of deciding the issue whether a mosque could claim immunity from land acquisition proceedings.

However, dissenting from this view, Justice Abdul Nazeer held that the observations in Faruqui case influenced the High Court decision in the title suit, and hence required reconsideration by a larger bench. After declining the plea for reference to larger bench, the majority had fixed the next date of hearing as October 29.

In December 2017, the bench of the then CJI Misra had turned down a plea for postponing the hearing in the case after 2019 Lok Sabha polls — made by senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan and Dushyant Dave — on the ground that the political climate was not conducive for hearing the dispute.

(With ANI inputs)

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