THE SUPREME Court Friday declined to expedite hearing of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suits, saying the court did not have the time to hear this matter “right now”.
Chief Justice of India J S Khehar also observed that he was under the wrong impression that BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, who had mentioned this case ten days ago, was a party to the clutch of petitions on the matter.
On March 21, the court had appealed for an amicable resolution of the dispute, with Justice Khehar expressing his readiness to even moderate a settlement between the two sides laying claim over the site in Ayodhya. The suggestion had come when Swamy mentioned the matter for early hearing.
But on Friday, the bench, headed by the CJI and also comprising Justice D Y Chandrachud, said, “At the moment we don’t have the time. We cannot hear you. We do not have the time right now.”
Justice J S Khehar further told Swamy that the bench came to know through the media that he was not a party to the litigation and was only an intervenor. “You did not tell us that you were not a party to the case, we only got to know that from the press,” it said, when Swamy mentioned his interim plea for urgent listing.
Swamy responded: “I am an intervenor. I am not interested in the property. Let them take it. I only want that the matter be settled as quickly as possible. I want my faith to be protected. My faith has been affected by not being able to pray at the site. A temple should be there. My right to pray is affected by the pending case and I had filed an intervening application.”
The bench, however, did not fix the matter for hearing on any specific date. At this, Swamy said that he was not happy, prompting the CJI to respond: “So don’t be happy”.
The son of Mohd Hashim Ansari, one of the first litigants in the matter who died last year, had also written a letter to the apex court that Swamy should not be given an urgent hearing as he had not informed the contesting parties about having filed an application for urgently hearing the matter.
On March 21, the CJI advised the parties to make a fresh attempt to resolve the matter through conciliation. “Give a bit, take a bit. Make an effort to sort it out. These are issues best decided jointly.these are issues of sentiments and religion. The court should come in the picture only if you cannot settle it.if the parties want me to sit with mediators chosen by both the sides for negotiations, I am ready to take up the task,” Justice Khehar had said.
At present, there is a “status quo” by the apex court on the Allahabad High Court order for a three-way division of the disputed site. By a 2:1 majority judgment, the Allahabad High Court had in 2010 ordered for the three-way division of the “roughly 15,000 square feet site” occupied by the mosque before its demolition on December 6, 1992 — one-third for the Sunni Waqf Board, one-third for the Nirmohi Akhara and one-third to the party for Ram Lalla.