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Ayodhya dispute: Supreme Court to hear civil appeals on Feb. 8

Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, being demolished on December 6, 1992.   | Photo Credit: Sanjay Sharma/Indiapix Network

The Supreme Court has fixed February 8, 2018 as the date for hearing the civil appeals in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute.

It commenced final hearing in the dispute on Tuesday, a day before the 25th anniversary of the demolition of medieval-era structure.

A specially constituted Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer are hearing a total of 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgment of the Allahabad High Court in four civil suits.

The High Court had ruled a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acre area at Ayodhya among the parties — the All India Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

A sect of Muslims, under the banner of Shia Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh, had 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.

Sunni Waqf Board's opposition

However, its intervention was opposed by the Sunni Waqf Board. It claimed that judicial adjudication between the two sects was done in 1946 by declaring the mosque, which was demolished on December 6, 1992, as one which belongs to the Sunnis.

Recently a group of civil rights activists also moved the apex court, seeking intervention in the dispute and urged it to consider the issue, saying it is not just a dispute over property but has several other aspects that would have far-reaching effects on the “secular fabric of the country.”

In pursuance to the apex court’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.

A battery of high profile lawyers, including senior advocates K. Parasaran and C.S. Vaidyanathan and advocate Saurabh Shamsheri, will appear for Lord Ram Lalla, the deity. Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta will represent the Uttar Pradesh government.

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Anoop George Chaudhari, Rajeev Dhavan and Sushil Jain will represent other parties, including the Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, an intervenor in the matter, had attempted to raise the issue of fundamental right of religion of the Hindus under Article 25 of the Constitution.

Many of the original plantiffs and defendants in the matter, including Mohd Hashim, who was the first person to take the matter to the apex court, have died.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 12:50:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/sc-begins-final-hearing-in-ayodhya-dispute/article21265545.ece

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