Supreme Court dismisses all Ayodhya verdict review pleas
The Supreme Court closed the doors on any further review on the Ayodhya land dispute case. A five-judge bench rejected a batch of petitions seeking review of the November 9 Ayodhya land dispute verdict, which cleared the way for construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site.
The in-chamber proceeding was taken up by a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde and also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S A Nazeer and Sanjeev Khanna.
Justice Khanna was the only judge who was not a part of the five-judge Constitution bench that had delivered the historic verdict.
He replaced the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who has retired.
What was Ayodhya verdict
A five-judge bench, headed by the then CJI Gogoi, had in a unanimous verdict on November 9 decreed the entire 2.77 acre disputed land in favour of deity ‘Ram Lalla’ and also directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot to Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque in Ayodhya.
All 18 review petitions rejected
The bench rejected all 18 review petitions in-chamber, out of which nine had been filed by parties who were part of the earlier litigation and the other nine were filed by “third parties”.
On December 2, the first plea seeking review of Ayodhya verdict was filed in the apex court by Maulana Syed Ashhad Rashidi, legal heir of original litigant M Siddiq and also the Uttar Pradesh president of the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind.
On December 6, six petitions were filed in the apex court seeking review of its November 9 judgement.
On December 9, two more review petitions were filed, one by the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha and the other by 40 persons, including rights activists who have jointly moved the court seeking review of its verdict.
Maulana Syed Ashhad Rashidi had sought review of the verdict on 14 counts and said that “complete justice” could only be done by directing reconstruction of Babri Masjid.
He had also sought an interim stay on the operation of the verdict in which it had directed the Centre that a trust be formed within three months for construction of the temple at the site.
Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, which had sought a limited review of the November 9 verdict, has moved the court against the direction to allot a five-acre plot to Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque in Ayodhya.
It had also sought deletion of findings declaring the disputed structure as a Mosque.
The review plea filed by 40 persons, including historian Irfan Habib, economist and political commentator Prabhat Patnaik, activists Harsh Mander, Nandini Sundar and John Dayal, had said they are “deeply aggrieved” by the verdict as it “errs in both fact and law”.
It had sought a full bench for hearing the review plea saying it is not merely a title dispute but a “contestation about the core of India’s constitutional morality, and the principles of equal citizenship, secularism, justice, rule of law and fraternity”.
Review petition filed by the Nirmohi Akhara, demanding a clarification on its role and representation in the trust to be set up by the government for the Ram temple construction, was not listed in front of the bench on Thursday as it was filed only on Tuesday.
Is there any further recourse
With Thursday’s developments, the verdict in the decades-old land dispute case has been virtually sealed. The only recourse that petitioners may still avail is that of Curative Review petition – in which the petitioner has to point out a legal error in the judgment to seek review.
What are petitioners saying
All India Muslim Personal Law Board‘s Zafaryab Jilani has termed the SC’s decision to reject all review petitions as unfortunate. “It is unfortunate that SC has not entertained our review petitions. We cannot say what should be our next step, we will consult our senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan.”
VHP has welcomed the rejection of petitions. VHP president Alok Kumar said, “The rejection of all reconsideration petitions in the Ayodhya case by the Supreme Court is a welcome step. Now all parties should accept the decision.”
“The government should set up Abilamb Trisht and make way for a grand temple on the birthplace of Lord Shri Ram,” he said.