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Supreme Court dismisses all review pleas filed against its Ayodhya ruling

The review petitions had been filed by Nirmohi Akhara, Hindu Mahasabha and number of Muslim parties supported by AIMPLB among others who had sought a review of the 9 Nov verdict of the SC (Photo: Mint)Premium
The review petitions had been filed by Nirmohi Akhara, Hindu Mahasabha and number of Muslim parties supported by AIMPLB among others who had sought a review of the 9 Nov verdict of the SC (Photo: Mint)

  • After Thursday’s verdict by the top court, the next remedy available for petitioners is to file a curative petition
  • The bench did not give the reasons for the verdict

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed all the review petitions filed against its 9 November verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute case.

“We have carefully gone through the Review Petitions and the connected papers filed therewith. We do not find any ground, whatsoever to entertain the same," the five-judge Constitution bench hearing the petitions said after holding in-chamber proceedings.

The bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde included justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S. Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna. Former chief justice Ranjan Gogoi, who was part of the Constitution bench that had pronounced the original verdict, was replaced by Justice Sanjiv Khanna on Thursday.

SC rejects Ayodhya review pleas: Watch Jamiat, Hindu Mahasabha reaction


The bench did not give the reasons for the verdict. In-chamber proceedings are held behind closed doors.

The 19 review petitions that were dismissed had been filed by Nirmohi Akhara, Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM), a number of Muslim parties supported by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), and activists and academics, among others. They had sought a review of the verdict, which unanimously awarded the disputed land in Ayodhya to Hindu parties and ordered the Centre to set up a trust to oversee the construction of a temple. It also asked the government to grant five acres to Muslims to build a mosque in Ayodhya.

A review petition is generally considered by all the judges who were part of the bench that had passed the judgement. The judges then decide in-chamber whether there is any merit in the review petitions to rehear the case in open court.

After Thursday’s verdict, the next remedy available for the petitioners is to file a curative petition. Certain grounds need to be fulfilled in order to file a curative petition.

As with review petitions, a curative petition is circulated among the judges who passed the original verdict and they take a decision on it in-chamber. The Ayodhya review petitions sought a rehearing of the long-festering case on widely differing grounds.

One petition, filed by a mixed group of 40 petitioners, alleged that the verdict violated the secular principles embedded in the Constitution. While neither party had proved exclusive ownership of the land, Hindu worshippers were given the land, they argued. “The faith of one of the communities was consequently regarded higher than the other," they said, which, according to them, made the verdict violative of the secular principles of the Constitution.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, counsel for the 40 petitioners, said on Thursday: “Curative petition in such a case would be futile." It was not immediately known if any of the other review petitioners would file a curative petition.

Another group of review petitioners, supported by AIMPLB, argued, “The de jure, indeed de facto, effect of the direction in the judgement is to destroy the mosque if it still existed."

At the other end of the scale, ABHM challenged the allotment of land for building a mosque. “The construction of mosque on land owned by the government will also be against the principles of secularism and part-III of the Constitution of India," it added.

On the other hand, the review petition of the Nirmohi Akhara, a religious denomination and an original litigant, sought clarification on the “nature of role" and “quantum of representation" in the trust that the Centre has been ordered to set up.

The first review petition, filed on 2 December by Maulana Syed Ashhad Rashidi, the legal heir of the original litigant, M. Siddiq, and Uttar Pradesh president of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, said “complete justice" could only be done by directing reconstruction of the Babri Masjid.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) welcomed the decision. “The Supreme Court’s decision (earlier on Ayodhya) without doubt was acceptable to the entire country. There were some who wanted to make political gains out of it and now the court has ruled out that too," said Bizay Sonkar Shastri, national spokesperson of BJP.

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