India: Supreme Court closes contempt cases pertaining to Babri Mosque demolition

Bench says issue does not survive now

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Published: Tue 30 Aug 2022, 7:52 PM

The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday closed the contempt proceedings, arising out of the demolition of Babri Masjid at Ayodhya in 1992, against the state of Uttar Pradesh and others.

A bench headed by Justice S K Kaul said the issue does not survive now and referred to the November 2019 verdict of a constitution bench.

A five-judge constitution bench of the apex court had on November 9, 2019, cleared the way for the construction of a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya and directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot for building a mosque.

While closing the contempt proceedings, the bench observed that the matter ought to have come up for hearing earlier.

The counsel appearing for the petitioner told the bench, also comprising Justices A S Oka and Vikram Nath, that the contempt plea was pending for a long and the petitioner had died in 2010.

“I appreciate the fact that the matter ought to have come up earlier,” Justice Kaul said.

The counsel appearing for the petitioner said the order passed by the apex court in 1992 was violated and after that, the contempt petition was filed.

He said nearly 30 years have gone by and the petitioner had filed several applications for listing of the matter.

“I appreciate your concern. But, now nothing survives in this matter,” Justice Kaul observed, adding, “You cannot keep whipping a dead horse.” The bench said it was unfortunate that the matter was not taken up.

“We are making an endeavour to take up old matters. Some may survive, and some may not survive…. Now, you have a full verdict delivered by a larger bench,” it said.

The bench noted in its order that the petitioner has passed away and the issue has been settled by a constitution bench in November 2019.

“Be that as it may, the lis really does not survive for consideration,” the bench said, adding, “The contempt proceedings are closed”.

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