The Supreme Court Thursday dismissed a batch of petitions seeking review of its November 9 Ayodhya land dispute case verdict which cleared the way for construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site.
The top court, which took a total of 19 review pleas for consideration in-chamber, rejected them after finding no ground to entertain them.
"Applications for listing of review petitions in open court are dismissed. 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 review petitions are, accordingly, dismissed," a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said while rejecting 10 out of 19 pleas filed by original litigants to the title dispute.
The apex court, which also considered the nine petitions filed by "third parties" who were not part of the original litigation, denied them permission to file review petition in the matter.
"Applications for permission to file review petitions are dismissed. In view of the denial of permission to file review petitions, applications for listing of review petitions in open court as well as review petitions are rejected," said the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S A Nazeer and Sanjeev Khanna, while dismissing the pleas filed by "third parties".
Among the 10 original litigants, whose review petitions were dismissed, eight were filed by the Muslim parties which includes those supported by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board.
It is significant that key Muslim litigant, Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, had decided not to seek review of the unanimous November 9 verdict.
Nirmohi Akhara and Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha were the two Hindu bodies whose review pleas were rejected by the bench.
Among the nine "third parties" were 40 rights activists who had jointly moved the top court seeking review of its verdict.
With the dismissal of these review pleas, the parties to the litigation are left with legal recourse of filing curative petition only.
A curative petition is the last legal recourse in the apex court for curing the defects and is also heard in-chamber unless a prima facie case is made out for reconsideration of the verdict.
A five-judge bench, headed by the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, had in a unanimous verdict on November 9 decreed the entire 2.77 acre disputed land in favour of deity 'Ram Lalla' and also directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot to Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque in Ayodhya.
On December 2, the first plea seeking review of Ayodhya verdict was filed in the apex court by Maulana Syed Ashhad Rashidi, legal heir of original litigant M Siddiq and also the Uttar Pradesh president of the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind.
On December 6, six petitions were filed in the apex court seeking review of its November 9 judgement.
On December 9, two more review petitions were filed, one by the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha and the other by 40 persons, including rights activists. Later, Nirmohi Akhara also filed a review petition.
In its November 9 verdict, the apex court had dismissed the appeal of Nirmohi Akhara against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
The top court had directed that a trust should be formed within three months for the construction of temple at the site many Hindus believe Lord Ram was born and asked the Centre to grant representation in the trust to Nirmohi Akhara.
Maulana Syed Ashhad Rashidi had sought review of the verdict on 14 counts and said that "complete justice" could only be done by directing reconstruction of Babri Masjid.
He had also sought an interim stay on operation of the verdict in which it had directed the Centre that a trust be formed within three months for construction of the temple at the site.
Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, which has sought a limited review of the November 9 verdict, moved the court against the direction to allot a five-acre plot to Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque in Ayodhya.
It also sought deletion of findings declaring the disputed structure as a Mosque.
The review plea filed by 40 persons, including historian Irfan Habib, economist and political commentator Prabhat Patnaik, activists Harsh Mander, Nandini Sundar and John Dayal, have said they are "deeply aggrieved" by the verdict as it "errs in both fact and law".
It has sought a full bench for hearing the review plea saying it is not merely a title dispute but a "contestation about the core of India's constitutional morality, and the principles of equal citizenship, secularism, justice, rule of law and fraternity."