Coming Up: 4 SC rulings may change India as we know it

In a span of 10 working days starting November 4, Supreme Court benches led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi will deliver four important judgments, including the verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute, which can have far-reaching impact in the social, religious and political sphere of the country.

Ayodhya case, which has been a pivotal point of India’s socio-religious cauldron since 1858 and litigation on which has been going on since 18-85, will ink a new chapter in the lengthy history of the dispute. Days ahead of what is going to be a landmark verdict, speculation is rife whether the five-judge bench will render a unanimous verdict. Unanimity over such a contentious issue, which has divided Hindus and Muslims vertically, would be welcome as it would remove any ambiguity that can arise in case of a 4-1 or 3-2 decision.

In 1934, a communal riot in Ayodhya had damaged the three domes of the Babri mosque and it had to be reconstructed by the British with money raised by imposing fines on Hindu residents of the town. Litigation over the disputed structure resumed afresh in 1950 after idols were placed under the central dome on the intervening night of December 22-23, 1949. A Hindu devotee, Gopal Singh Visharad, had filed a suit in 1950 seeking the right to worship the idols under the central dome. Nirmohi Akhara, which seeks priestly rights, filed a suit in 1959 followed by Sunni Waqf Board in 1961. The deity, through next friend, filed a suit in 1989, three years before the mosque was demolished.

The CJI is heading three other benches which will deliver verdicts on petitions seeking review of the SC judgments allowing entry of women of all ages into Sabarimala Ayyappa temple, giving a clean chit to the government in the Rafale deal and a petition seeking to bring CJI’s office under the ambit of RTI Act.

Other high-voltage case pending decision before a three-judge CJI-led bench is the review petitions challenging SC’s decision last year giving a clean chit to the NDA government on purchase of 36 fully loaded Rafale fighter jets from France under an inter-governmental agreement. The Bench had on May 10 reserved its verdict on petitions seeking a CBI inquiry into alleged corruption and irregularities in the Rafale deal.

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