The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to set up a larger bench for a relook of its 1994 verdict which held a "mosque is not an essential part of the practice of Islam" paving the way for the apex court to hear the politically sensitive main Ayodhya title suit from October 29.
Ruling that the earlier observation was made in the limited context of "land acquisition" during the hearing of the Ayodhya case, the top court in a 2-1 verdict made it clear it was not relevant for deciding the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute whose outcome will be eagerly awaited ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The RSS and the BJP welcomed the judgment and expressed confidence that a "just verdict" in the case will be reached at the earliest.
Following is the chronology of events in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case:
*1528: Babri Masjid was built by Mir Baqi, commander of Mughal emperor Babur.
*1885: Mahant Raghubir Das filed a plea in Faizabad district court seeking permission to build a canopy outside the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid structure. The court rejected the plea.
*1949: Idols of Ram Lalla were placed under a central dome outside the disputed structure.
*1950: Gopal Simla Visharad filed a suit in the Faizabad district court for rights to worship the idols of Ram Lalla.
*1950: Paramahansa Ramachandra Das filed a suit for continuation of worship and keeping the idols.
*1959: Nirmohi Akhara filed a suit seeking possession of the site.
*1981: UP Sunni Central Waqf Board filed a suit for possession of the site.
*February 1, 1986: A Local court ordered the government to open the site for Hindu worshippers.
*August 14, 1989: The Allahabad HC ordered maintenance of status quo in respect of the disputed structure.
*December 6, 1992: Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid’s structure demolished.
*April 3, 1993: 'Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act' was passed for acquisition of land by the Centre in the disputed area.
*1993: Various writ petitions, including one by Ismail Faruqui, were filed at the Allahabad HC challenging various aspects of the Act.
*October 24, 1994: The SC said in the historic Ismail Faruqui case that a mosque was not an integral to Islam.
*April, 2002: The HC begins hearing on determining who owned the disputed site.
*March 13, 2003: The SC said, in the Aslam alias Bhure case, no religious activity of any nature be allowed at the acquired land.
*March 14: The SC said an interim order passed should be operative till disposal of the civil suits in the Allahabad HC to maintain communal harmony.
*September 30, 2010: The HC, in a 2:1 majority, ruled three-way division of disputed area between the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
*May 9, 2011: The SC stayed the HC verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute.
*February 26, 2016: Subramanian Swamy filed a plea in the SC seeking construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site.
*March 21, 2017: The CJI JS Khehar suggested out-of-court settlement among rival parties.
*August 7: The SC constituted a three-judge bench to hear pleas challenging the 1994 verdict of the Allahabad HC.
*August 8: The UP Shia Central Waqf Board told the SC mosque could be built in a Muslim-dominated area at a reasonable distance from the disputed site.
*September 11: The SC directed the Chief Justice of the Allahabad HC to nominate two additional district judges within 10 days as observers to deal with the upkeep of the disputed site.
*November 20: The UP Shia Central Waqf Board told the SC that the temple can be built in Ayodhya and mosque in Lucknow.
*December 1: Thirty-two civil rights activists filed a plea challenging the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad HC.
*February 8, 2018: The SC started hearing the civil appeals.
*March 14: The SC rejected all interim pleas, including Swamy's, seeking to intervene as parties in the case.
*April 6: Rajeev Dhavan filed a plea in the SC to refer the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgment to a larger bench.
*July 6: The UP government told the SC some Muslim groups were trying to delay the hearing by seeking reconsideration of an observation in the 1994 verdict.
*July 20: The SC reserved the verdict.
*September 27: The SC declined to refer the case to a five-judge Constitution bench. The case will be heard by a newly constituted a three-judge bench on October 29.
(With PTI inputs)