The Supreme Court bench, on Friday, said that it will hear arguments on whether the entire matter needs to be referred to a larger bench. However, it did not agree to the fervent plea of an original litigant that the Ayodhya land dispute should be immediately referred to a larger bench as the issue was far more important than that of polygamy among Muslims, for which a constitution bench was constituted. The bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra said that it will take the final decision after hearing all parties to the litigation.
“You (CJI) sent pleas to strike down polygamy immediately to the Constitution Bench, but you are reluctant to send the Babri Masjid case to the Constitution Bench. Is polygamy more important than the right of Muslims to worship in a mosque,” senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing M Siddiq, had posed before the bench which also comprised Justices Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.
For the Hindu Group, former Attorney General and senior advocate K Parasaran appeared at the court and opposed the plea saying that it was prerogative of the apex court to decide on which bench would hear the case.
He referred to the decision of the apex court that a five-judge bench would hear the petitions against the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) Act, despite the submission that earlier seven-judge benches had heard the second and the third judges cases that had brought the collegium system of appointment into force.
The hearing started with a heated exchange of words between Dhavan and Additional Solicitor Generals (ASGs) Maninder Singh and Tushar Mehta.
Later in the day, Dhavan also made some uncharitable remarks against Parasaran, which led one of the lawyers to lodge a strong protest. Dhavan also referred to the 1994 verdict in the case of M Ismail Faruqui and assailed certain findings and observations like a mosque is not integral to the prayers offered by the followers of Islam.