Ayodhya Matter: All intervention applications dismissed; Registry directed not to entertain any intervention application

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, JJ dismissed all the intervention applications filed in the Ram Janamabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, famously known as the Ayodhya matter, and directed the Registry not to entertain any interlocutory applications for intervention/ impleadment/ for filing any book or additional documents/ for seeking permission to give assistance in these appeals from any third party.

Applications of Shyam Benegal, Aparna Sen and Teesta Setalvad were part of the 32 intervention applications that were rejected by the Court. The Court also rejected the application filed by Subramanian Swamy, however, it ordered the revival of Swamy’s disposed plea that had sought enforcement of his fundamental right to worship at Ram Temple in Ayodhya. He had told the Court:

“my fundamental rights are higher than my property rights.”

Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan appeared before the Court in today’s hearing after his client asked him to reconsider his decision to give up court practice. Rajeev Dhavan had given up court practice after the humiliating end to the Delhi case,  in which, a heated exchange had taken place between him and CJI.

Rajeev Dhavan had submitted before the Court that the matter should be referred to a larger bench in view of the decision rendered by the Constitution Bench in M. Ismail Faruqui (Dr) v. Union of India, (1994) 6 SCC 360. The Court hence said:

“we should hear Dr. Dhawan, learned senior counsel appearing in one of the appeals on behalf of the appellants, whether the judgment in Dr. M. Ismail Faruqui (supra) requires reconsideration.”

The Bench, however, made it clear that clear that it’s addressing the said issue shall singularly relate to whether the Bench should think of that the dictum in Dr. M. Ismail Faruqui (supra) requires reconsideration and in that event, it may pass appropriate orders for placing the matter before a five-Judge Bench for consideration of the said judgment.

On 05.12.2017, the Court had refused to defer the matter till 2019 and had asked all the counsels to work in harmony in order to achieve speedy disposal of the matter. On the same day, the Courtroom witnessed another exchange between Rajeev Dhavan and CJI when Rajeev Dhavan told the Court that he would require four months to read prepare and argue the matter. On this, the Court said:

“Dr. Dhavan, learned senior counsel almost thought of writing a Shavian preface, which can more than be main drama or a play, by stating that he would require four months to read, prepare and argue. We have noted this, as the said submission was advanced with medieval passion and sans reason.”

The Court will now hear the matter on March 23. [M. Siddiq v. Mahant Suresh Das, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 222, order dated 14.03.2018]

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