The Supreme Court will begin the final hearing of the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case on Tuesday, just a day ahead of the 25th anniversary of the demolition of the mosque in Ayodhya in 1992.
A special bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Abdul Nazeer will hear 13 appeals filed against the Allahabad High Court’s 2010 judgement, which ruled a three-way split of the disputed 2.77 acres in Ayodhya among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and the deity Ram.
In March, the Supreme Court had suggested an out-of-court settlement, but none of the parties agreed.
The Shia Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh, a sect of Muslims, approached the Supreme Court in August, offering that a mosque be built in a Muslim-dominated area at a “reasonable distance” from the disputed site in Ayodhya. The Shia board was not a party in the case originally.
However, the Sunni board objected to the intervention. It said that a judicial adjudication between the two sects in 1946 had declared that the Babri Masjid belonged to their sect. The Sunni board also said that the High Court verdict violated articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution, which grants equal rights to all faith.
On Tuesday, senior advocates K Parasaran and CS Vaidyanathan and advocate Saurabh Shamsheri will appear for Ram Lalla, the deity. Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta will represent the Uttar Pradesh government, and senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Anoop George Chaudhari, Rajeev Dhavan and Sushil Jain will represent other parties, including the All India Sunni Waqf Board and the Nirmohi Akhara.
Many of the original plantiffs and defendants in the decades-old matter, which began after Hindu volunteers gathered at the site and demolished the Babri Masjid, have died.