The Ayodhya Case is in focus once again. The Supreme Court has adjourned further hearing on the disputed land of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid area to January. The Chief Justice of India rejected the hearing saying that the “court has its own priorities.” The bench comprising of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict that had trifurcated the area between Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and the Muslim litigant.
Though the Uttar Pradesh SG, Tushar Mehta had urged the apex court to consider a hearing in November given the nature of the dispute, the bench did not concede. The court decided that the future of the hearing will be taken forward only in January. It is needless to mention that this adjournment will undeniably delay the overall hearing and verdict process in this case. Now a verdict before the important elections in 2019 is unlikely.
This is undeniably a matter of concern as the Ram Janmabhoomi issue continues to be one of the focal point of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. With the polls so close to the heels, this is also a cardinal point in the manifesto.
This latest development follows the Court decision on September 27. The apex court had then maintained that the civil suit on land dispute would be heard by a three-judge bench on October 29. When the three-judge bench was hearing appeals filed against the Allahabad Court verdict, the issue whether a mosque is integral to Islam had cropped up. The October 29 hearing was earlier presumed to be a continuation of this key matter.
However with the hearing now postponed to January, it needs to be seen how the BJP plays the Ram Janmabhoomi card in the forthcoming election. The question is if this becomes a potential game changer for the ruling party. For now, it is a wait and watch policy.