5-judge bench to hear Babri case? SC to rule

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court began hearing arguments on Wednesday on a critical issue — whether the 70-year-old legal battle between Hindu and Muslim communities over ownership of the nearly 3 acres of Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi disputed land should be sent to a five-judge bench.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer took into account arguments of senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing original plaintiff M Siddiq now replaced by his legal heir after his death, that the matter needed to be sent to a larger bench as a five-judge bench in Ismail Faruqui case had “wrongly” decided that Muslims do not need a mosque to pray.

In answering the meaning of mosque, the SC in Ismail Faruqui case had said Muslims did not need a mosque to pray and if this ruling stands, then it would be fatal to the Muslims’ arguments in the land dispute case. The land was acquired by the Centre through an ordinance, later converted into…

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