SC Reserves Order On Whether The Ismail Faruqui Judgment Requires Re-consideration By A Larger Bench

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The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its judgment on the question whether it’s 1994 ruling in Ismail Faruqui Vs Union of India requires reconsideration by a larger bench. The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Abdul Nazeer was hearing a string of appeals against the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court in the Ram Janmabhumi-Babri Masjid dispute.
On previous occasions Senior Counsel Rajeev Dhavan, for the Sunni Waqf Board, has pressed for a reference to a constitution bench of the 1994 apex court judgment in as much as it observes that a mosque is not an essential part of Islam and that the namaz may even be offered in the open. It has been his case that the “questionable” remarks in Ismail Faruqui have infiltrated the judgment of the trial court.

In respect of the contention that a reconsideration of the 1994 judgment is barred by res judicata, Dr. Dhavan reiterated, “There is no absolutism…if there is similarity between two sets of cases, only then they attract res judicata under section 11 of the CPC…but what was ‘directly and substantially in issue’ (in Ismail Faruqui) was the question of the revival of the suits in their entirety and of acquisition…that was different”.

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