The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing in the long-standing Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri mosque title dispute to February 8. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra also directed the advocates on record of the appeals to sit together and ensure that all the requisite documents are translated, filed and numbered before the apex court Registry.
The bench also took serious note of the submission of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who is representing Sunni Waqf Board, that the matter be heard only in July 2019, after the completion of the next Lok Sabha polls citing political ramifications.
Appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta, on the other hand, vociferously opposed contentions that the pleadings were not complete and asserted that everything has been complied with and the cases were ready for the hearing.
Meanwhile, appellant Muslim parties questioned the reason for hearing the case now and wondered if there was some kind of “hurry”.
On September 30, 2010, the Allahabad High Court had distributed the 2.77 acres of the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi site into three parts, giving each to Nirmohi Akhara sect, the Sunni Central Wakf Board, UP, and Ramlalla Virajman.
However, the order was challenged before the apex court on May 9, 2011, which in its verdict stayed the operation of the decree and ordered status quo of the land and other adjoining areas acquired by the Centre in 1993.
Earlier in August, the Supreme Court gave the parties 12 weeks to translate all oral evidence and exhibited documents in various languages.
Reacting to Sibal’s stand, BJP chief Amit Shah sought Congress’ clarification on the issue. “Today a surprising stand was taken in SC by Congress leader and Sunni Waqf Board lawyer Kapil Sibal ji, he said hearing should be deferred till after 2019 LS polls. Congress should clear its stand on this,” Shah was quoted as saying by ANI.
“Rahul ji is visiting temples in Gujarat but on the other hand Kapil Sibal is being used to delay Ram janmbhoomi case. Rahul ji should tell us what his view on this is,” he added.
On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition, the Centre has directed all states to remain cautious and ensure that there was peace and no incident of communal tension anywhere in the country.