- Verdict in decades-old temple-mosque dispute expected before next month
- It should uphold India's "multi-religious values": Muslim petitioners
- Court had asked respondents for what they want verdict to focus on
The verdict in the Ayodhya title suit will have impact on future generations and it should uphold the "multi-religious, multi-cultural values of the country", the Muslim petitioners have reminded the Supreme Court.
The five-judge bench that heard the arguments over 40 days, is expected to deliver a verdict the decades-long temple-mosque dispute in less than a month.
As the daily hearings came to an end on Wednesday, the court had asked the respondents to say what issues they wanted the judges to focus on - a regular part of the proceedings which in legal parlance is called "moulding of relief".
The respondents, however, pushed the ball the to the judges' court, saying, "Moulding the relief is the responsibility of this Court, which itself is the sentinel of our Constitution".
In its response submitted in a sealed cover - a departure from norm - the respondents said: "Since the judgement of this Court will have far reaching implications, it is for the Court to consider the consequences of its historic judgement by moulding the relief in a fashion that will reflect the constitutional values that this great nation espouses. We hope that the Court, in moulding the relief, upholds our multi-religious and multicultural values in resolving the issues confronting it."
"When moulding the relief, this Court must also consider how future generations will view this verdict," the affidavit further read.
The dispute over 2.77 acres, which both Hindus and Muslims claim, had been one of the key issues that dominated political discourse since the 80s. In 1992, right-wing activists razed a 16th Century mosque that they believed was built on a temple that marked the birthplace of the Lord Ram. In the riots that followed, more than 300 people were killed across the country.
Last week, the Muslim respondents rejected reports that the Sunni Waqf Board -- in its talks with the court-appointed mediation panel -- had agreed to drop its claims to the disputed land if the existing mosques in Ayodhya be renovated by the government. It was also said they had no objections if a Ram temple was built on the site.
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