Law

Ayodhya Verdict: Supreme Court Dismisses All Review Petitions

The petitions were heard in the chamber by a bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S.A. Nazeer and Sanjeev Khanna.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed all 18 review petitions filed against its November 9 judgment to allot the disputed land in Ayodhya to the Hindu parties and clearing the path for the construction of a Ram temple.

The petitions were heard in the chamber by a bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S.A. Nazeer and Sanjeev Khanna. Justice Khanna is the only judge who was not part of the five-judge constitution bench that had delivered the verdict. He replaces then-CJI Ranjan Gogoi, who has retired.

According to LiveLaw, the bench held that the review petitions lacked merit. It also said that those who are not party to the suit cannot file review petitions.

The five-judge bench’s unanimous verdict on November 9 decreed the entire 2.77 acre disputed land in favour of the deity ‘Ram Lalla’ and also directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board ‘at a prominent location’ to build a mosque in Ayodhya.

Nine review petitions were filed by parties who were part of the earlier litigation and nine others 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 the 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 sought review of the verdict on 14 counts and said that “complete justice” could only be done by directing reconstruction of Babri Masjid. He 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 the construction of a temple at the site.

The Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha moved the court against the direction to allot a five-acre plot to Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque in Ayodhya. It has also sought deletion of findings declaring the disputed structure as a mosque.

A review plea filed by 40 persons, including historian Irfan Habib, economist and political commentator Prabhat Patnaik, activists Harsh Mander and John Dayal and academics such as Nandini Sundar and Jayati Ghosh, said they are “deeply aggrieved” by the verdict as it “errs in both fact and law”.

They 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”.

Note: This is a developing story and will be updated when more information is available.

(With PTI inputs)