A three-judge bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer on Tuesday adjourned the final hearing in the Babri Masjid–Ram Janmabhoomi case to February 8. Wednesday, December 6, is the 25th anniversary of the demolition of the mosque in Ayodhya.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Sunni Waqf board, asked the court to push the hearing to July 2019, once the next General Election is over, since he said there are “serious repercussions” outside court every time the matter is heard. However, the court denied the request, Live Law reported. Sibal also asked that a seven-judge Constitution bench of the top court hear the case, which was turned down.
At one point, senior advocates Sibal, Dushyant Dave and Rajeev Dhawan threatened to walk out of the court. The lawyers claimed that the court wanted to go ahead with the hearing without convincing them about its urgency. Lawyers K Parasaran and AS Vydyanathan, appearing for Ram Lalla, the deity at Ayodhya, objected to this.
“This is a trap and the court should not fall into it. Somebody is pushing the party manifesto,” Sibal retorted. He said the hearing was being expedited on the plea of a person (Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy) who was not even a party to the case.
Sibal said that all records related to the case, which were presented before the Allahabad High Court in 2010, had not been placed before the Supreme Court. He also said that the Archaeological Survey of India’s report on the Babri Masjid was unavailable.
However, Additional Solicitor General Thushar Mehta, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, said that all documents had been filed.
But Sibal countered, questioning the possibility of 19,000 pages of documents being filed in a short time. He told the top court that he and other petitioners in the case had served relevant documents of pleadings before the Allahabad High Court.
The Supreme Court then halted the proceedings to take stock of the documents filed in the case, the Hindustan Times reported.
The top court on Tuesday took up 13 appeals filed against the Allahabad High Court judgment that ruled a three-way split of the disputed 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya among the Sunni Waqf Board, a Hindu organisation called the Nirmohi Akhara, and Ram Lalla or Infant Rama, which is represented by the Hindu Mahasabha, for the construction of the Ram temple.
In May, a special Central Bureau of Investigation court granted bail to senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and others accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
On December 6, 1992, the mosque was demolished by lakhs of karsevakswho had gathered at the site from across the country. The incident had triggered communal riots across the country. The karsevaks had claimed that the land on which the mosque stood was the birthplace of Ram.