Babri Masjid-Ram temple dispute: SC to begin final hearing in Ayodhya case today
A special bench will assemble on Tuesday to begin hearing a total of 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgement of the Allahabad high court in four civil suits in the Babri Masjid-Ram temple dispute.india Updated: Dec 05, 2017 08:14 IST
Just a day ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya on December 1992, the Supreme Court of India is set to begin final hearing in the politically controversial Babri Masjid-Ram temple dispute case.
A special bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Abdul Nazeer will assemble at 2pm on December 5, Tuesday, to begin hearing a total of 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgement of the Allahabad high court in four civil suits.
The high court had then ruled a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acre area at Ayodhya among the parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and the deity Ram Lalla (Ram as an infant).
Contesting parties, including the Uttar Pradesh government, are likely to make their opening statements on Tuesday.
A sect of Muslims, under the banner of Shia Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh, had earlier approached the court offering a solution that a mosque could 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, its intervention was opposed by the Sunni board which had claimed that judicial adjudication between the two sects had already been done in 1946 by declaring the mosque, which was demolished on December 6, 1992, as one which belongs to the Sunnis.
The Sunni board also challenged the judgment, saying the verdict was based on faith rather than documentary evidence.
It also said the verdict violates Articles 25-26 of the Constitution, which grants equal rights to all faith. The appeal has the endorsement of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, one of the original litigants.
Tuesday’s hearing comes in the backdrop of a failed suggestion by the SC in March this year, when it had suggested an out-of-court settlement. None of the parties were keen on it.
Recently a group of civil rights activists also moved the apex court seeking intervention in the Ayodhya dispute and urged it to consider the issue saying it is not just a dispute over property but has several aspects that would have far-reaching effects on the “secular fabric of the country”.
Since September 2010, over 20 appeals and cross-appeals have been filed in the SC without making any significant headway.
In pursuance to the SC’s earlier direction, the Yogi Adityanath government has submitted English translation of exhibits and documents likely to be relied upon, as these were in eight different languages.
The SC on August 11 asked the UP government to complete within 10 weeks the translation of the evidence recorded for adjudication of the title dispute in the HC. It had said it would not allow the matter to take any shape other than the civil appeals and would adopt the same procedure as was done by the high court.
(With PTI inputs)