Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court's order that refused to revisit its 1994 ruling that the government can acquire land that a mosque is built on - a decision that means that the politically-charged Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute case can be taken up without any delay.
"The majority of this nation wants a solution to this at the earliest. Those who don't want a resolution, they are trying to hinder the process. Supreme Court's decision is important, we welcome it. Hope Supreme Court will listen to the [Ram Temple] matter and deliver a verdict soon," Mr Adityanath said in Varanasi.
In a majority 2:1 verdict, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra declined to refer to a five-judge constitution bench whether a mosque was integral to Islam and said the civil suit over the Ayodhya dispute has to be decided on the basis of evidence.
Justice Ashok Bhushan, who read out the judgment for himself and the Chief Justice, said it has to find out the context in which the five-judge bench had delivered the 1994 judgment.
Justice S Abdul Nazeer disagreed with the two judges and said whether mosque is integral to Islam has to be decided considering religious belief which requires detailed consideration.
The Supreme Court said now the civil suit on land dispute will be heard by a newly constituted three-judge bench on October 29 as Justice Misra will retire on October 2 as the Chief Justice.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing a total of 14 appeals filed against a judgment delivered in 2010 by the Allahabad High Court. The court had ordered that the land in Ayodhya where the Babri Masjid stood, be divided equally among three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
The contentious temple issue, which had been pushed to the back of the BJP manifestos even in Uttar Pradesh, has resurfaced ahead of next year's general elections.
In June this year, a top religious leader, Ram Vilas Vedanti, while sharing stage with Yogi Adityanath, said the Ram temple will be built in Ayodhya ahead of next year's general elections.
A day later, Yogi Adityanath had referred to the temple plan, but obliquely. "When Lord Ram showers his blessings on Ayodhya, the Ram mandir will definitely be built and there should be no doubt about it. At least there shouldn't be any doubt among saints," the Chief Minister had said.
A Ram temple in Ayodhya is one of the key agenda of right-wing organisations affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the BJP. Their support is expected to play a key role in Uttar Pradesh -- the state which sends the highest number of lawmakers in parliament.
(With inputs from PTI)