The Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Thursday expressed disappointment after the Supreme Court adjourned the hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute, PTI reported. The hearing has been deferred to January 29.
The top court said it would set up a fresh five-judge Constitution bench to hear the case after Justice UU Lalit recused himself. Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan had pointed out that Lalit had appeared as counsel in a related case in 1994.
VHP working president Alok Kumar said the adjournment from January 10 to January 29 was “rather long”. “The hearing of the Ram Janmabhoomi case has been adjourned yet once again,” he said. “Our apprehensions that the opposite party shall raise any frivolous issues to secure an adjournment have come true.”
Kumar also urged Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to “act decisively” in the case. “Hindus are known for their patience and forbearance. The judicial system still has the responsibility of deciding the matters without undue delays,” Kumar said. “The country hopes that the Honourable Chief Justice, heading the present bench, shall decisively act to prevent the delaying tactics of the opposite party.”
Kumar argued that Justice Lalit had never appeared in cases related to the Ram Janmabhoomi, neither at the trial state nor during appeals. The objections to Lalit’s presence on the bench “were merely ploys to delay further”, claimed Kumar, adding that his role as counsel of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh in a contempt case in 1994 casts no shadow on his hearing the present appeals.
The Supreme Court had in October rejected the Uttar Pradesh government’s appeal for an early hearing in the case. As many as 14 separate petitions have been filed against the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict ordering a three-way division of the land on which the Babri Masjid stood. The land was divided equally between the Nirmohi Akhara, the Sunni Wakf Board and the representative for the deity Ram Lalla in the 2010 judgement.