‘The Supreme Court shouldn’t end up helping the BJP’: New twist in Ram temple row as lawyers call for hearing to be delayed until AFTER 2019 polls
- In 1992 a large group of Hindus demolished the 16th century Babri Mosque
- The city is believed to be the birthplace of the Hindu god Rama
- The mosque was built during Mughal rule on top of the ‘birthplace’ of the deity
- During the resurgence of Hindu nationalism the VHP and BJP organised a rally The 150,000-strong crowd tore the mosque down in anger
- Rioting between Hindus and Muslims left at least 2,000 dead
- The current Ayodhya dispute is a political and socio-religious debate in India concerning which religious group ought to possess the land
- See more news from India at www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome
The sensational Ramjanmbhoomi-Babri masjid case took a new twist with the lawyers for the Sunni Waqf board and Babri Masjid Action Committee vehemently urging the Supreme Court to defer the hearing until after 2019 Lok Sabha polls, citing ‘huge political ramifications.’
But the three judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who remained undeterred, fixed February 8 as the next date of the hearing. And the court was reminded there was already a delay of seven years in hearing the appeals.
During the two hour-long high-voltage hearing in a jam packed court when sparks flew, Kapil Sibal, Dushyant Dave and Rajeev Dhavan, senior lawyers representing various Muslim bodies, referring to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy without naming him, said the bench should not show undue hurry and ‘fall into the trap’ laid by a person who was not even a party in the case, but worked for expediting the hearing.
The current Ram Temple in Ayodha, believed to be the birthplace of the Hindu god Rama
On December 6 1992 the VHP and BJP organised a rally at the mosque and the 150,000-strong crowd overwhelmed security forces before tearing down the mosque
Almost questioning the CJI’s integrity and casting aspersions on him, Sibal said the court should not been seen as helping the BJP with the Ram temple issue, one of the highlights in its 2014 election manifesto.
The Ayodhya-Babri Masjid dispute
In 1992 a large ‘group’ of Hindus demolished the 16th century Babri Mosque in the UP city of Ayodhya after a political rally at the site turned violent.
The city is believed to be the birthplace of the Hindu god Rama and the mosque is believed to be built on Ram Janmabhoomi, the actual birthplace of the deity.
On December 6 1992 the VHP and BJP organised a rally at the mosque and the 150,000-strong crowd overwhelmed security forces before tearing down the mosque.
This came in a climate of inter-communal rioting between Hindus and Muslims that left at least 2,000 dead.
A subsequent inquiry found that 68 people were responsible for the demolition, including leaders of the two political parties.
The current Ayodhya dispute is a political and socio-religious debate in India concerning which religious group ought to possess the land.
A 2010 landmark decision split the 2.77 hectare site equally between three parties – one Hindu, one Muslim, and one organisation trusted with maintaining the site.
‘The hearing should be put off till July 2019. This judgement is going to have huge political ramifications. Hearing was suddenly expedited on the request of a person who is not even a party to the case. A party is pushing its manifesto. The court should not fall into a trap. This is nothing but a trap’, said Sibal.
Sibal added: ‘What is the hurry? If your lordship is insisting it should be heard now and finished before the end of next year itself then your lordship must tell us why? It is perhaps the most important litigation in the history of the country. It’s going to be a judgement of such ramification, so a minimum five judge should hear it if not seven.
Harish Salve, lawyer heading the argument for pro-temple outfits, said : ‘Such presumption is disturbing. This is an extraordinary request. There are several judgements that have repercussions. That does not mean the court need not hear a case.’
Dhavan said the hearing in any case cannot be completed even before Justice Misra retired in October next year.
The specially constituted bench is 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 Lord 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 Ayodhya site.
Meanwhile, security forces were deployed in Faizabad and Ayodhya as the VHP and the Bajrang Dal plan to observe ‘Shaurya Diwas’ (Day of Valour), while Muslim organisations plan ‘Yaum e Gham’ (Day of sorrow) to mark 25 years since the Babri Masjid demolition.