Supreme Court to readdress whether mosque essential for assembly, prayers

New Delhi: Is mosque an essential for namaz? The Supreme Court will deliver a crucial verdict on the matter this afternoon that could impact whether a temple will be built at Ayodhya or not.

In 1994, the Supreme Court said that namaz could be offered anywhere and that a mosque was not necessary for this. At the beginning of the case, CJI Misra had said that the appeals would be treated as purely a civil suit consisting of a land dispute and religion would not play any role in the verdict.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra will decide whether the Ismail Farooqui judgement in which it was said that mosque is not integral part of Islam will go to a larger Constitution bench or not. It could also be one of the last verdicts that Chief Justice Misra deliver, before he retires.

In 1994, the Supreme Court said that namaz could be offered anywhere and that a mosque was not necessary for this. It also ruled that the government could, therefore, if needed, acquire the land that a mosque is built on.

The Muslim appellants said that the observation has affected status of mosques in Islam and the question should be answered before the court goes into the main title dispute. Arguing for them, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan told the court that “if congregation part of Islam is taken away, a large part of Islam goes worthless”.

Thursday’s verdict will take on political significance because if the apex court does decide to revisit the issue, the hearing in the main title dispute would get delayed. This in turn would make it very unlikely for the BJP to keep their commitment of building a temple in Ayodhya ahead of the 2019 elections.

The 16th century Babri mosque was destroyed in 1992 after lakhs of karsewaks or right-wing volunteers had demanded that it be brought down, in order to erect a temple to Lord Ram, who they said, had been born right there. The issue has been politically fraught ever since.

By- Simran Guleria