Ayodhya row: SC fixes title dispute cases for hearing from August 2

It had initially sent the Ayodhya dispute for mediation on March 8.

Updated - July 18, 2019 07:21 pm IST

Published - July 18, 2019 11:44 am IST - NEW DELHI

A sadhu (left) sits on stone slabs at the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas workshop in Ayodhya on December 6, 2018, the anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

A sadhu (left) sits on stone slabs at the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas workshop in Ayodhya on December 6, 2018, the anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, on Thursday fixed the Ayodhya title dispute cases for hearing on and from August 2.

The Bench asked the registry to keep the records of the cases ready. It also asked the mediation committee led by the former apex court judge, Justice F.M.I. Kalifulla, to submit a report on the outcome of the proceedings held between July 31 and August 1 with Hindu and Muslim parties to amicably resolve the over 70-year-old Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title spat.

The order came after the court perused a progress report filed by the committee earlier this week. This report was filed on the basis of an order passed by the Constitution Bench on July 11.

“Taking into account what has been brought to our notice by the said report, we now fix the hearing of the cases on and from 2.8.2019. The Bench will assemble again on the said date i.e. 2.8.2019 at 2.00 p.m. Office to make the cases ready for hearing. We request the Mediation Panel to inform the Court the outcome of the mediation proceedings as on 31.7.2019 by 1.8.2019 to enable us to proceed further in the matter in terms of the present directions,” the order read.

The court's July 11 order for a report was prompted by an application filed by Gopal Singh Visharad, an original claimant to the dispute, who filed a title suit way back in 1950, through his survivor Rajendra Singh on July 9 claiming that the mediation was making no progress.

The application urged the court to stop mediation and start adjudication on the pending Ayodhya appeals.

On July 11, the Bench gave a tentative date of July 25 for commencing the hearing of the pending Ayodhya appeals in case it is found that talks are making no headway as Visharad claims.

However, the mediation committee, in its present report, sounded positive about the talks. 

The Bench, however, refused a request from the parties to share the current progress report. 

It had initially sent the Ayodhya dispute for mediation on March 8.

The court had expressed the hope that mediation may spell a peaceful end to the volatile dispute between the members of the two religious faiths. It explained that the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case “is not about the 1500 sq ft of disputed land, but about religious sentiments. We know its impact on public sentiment, on body politic. We are looking at minds, hearts and healing if possible”.

“Discrepancies” in translations 

Meanwhile, the court allowed an application filed by M. Siddiq, through his legal heirs, to point out several “discrepancies” in the translations done by the Uttar Pradesh government of the case records.

The application filed on July 15 said there were “glaring errors”, and illustrated a few examples of them.

It said verification of the translations had been a herculean task. “The testimonies alone run into 54 volumes consisting of 13,426 pages which have been translated into English and filed by the government. There are a total 533 exhibits translated by various parties,” it stated.

The appellant said a dedicated team had been, since February, verifying the translations. “The process has proved to be more time consuming than anticipated,” the application said. 

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