New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to refer to a five-judge bench a 24-year-old judgment which had held that the offering of prayers in a mosque is not an “essential feature” of Islam.
But in declaring that the 1994 Ismail Faruqui judgment need not be revisited, the majority judgment by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Ashok Bhushan also said that those observations about the place of a mosque in Islam were limited to the context at hand in the case, namely the acquisition of land by the government, and had no bearing on the title suit in Ayodhya matter.
The Muslim litigants in the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmaboomi dispute fear had sought a reopening of the Faruqui judgment because they felt it might have an adverse bearing on their claim to the land in question.
In the 1994 case, the apex court had held that namaz could be offered anywhere and that a mosque was not necessary for this. It had also ruled that the government could, therefore, acquire the land that a mosque is built on.
In a majority verdict of 2:1, the apex court said the civil suit has to be decided on the basis of evidence and the previous verdict has no relevance on it.
The verdict was delivered by a three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer. Justice Bhushan gave one judgment on behalf of himself and CJI Misra, while Justice Nazeer wrote another.
Justice Nazeer said whether mosque is integral to Islam has to be decided considering belief of religion and it requires detailed consideration. He referred to the recent Supreme Court order on female genital mutilation and said the present matter be heard by larger bench.
You can read the full text of his dissenting opinion below.