The Supreme Court on Thursday deferred the hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case to March 14 after completion of documentation and translations.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Abdul Nazeer said that the apex court will first hear the petitioners in the case followed by intervenors including BJP MP Subramanian Swamy and Shyam Benegal.
Noting that the court was not rejecting the plea of certain individuals seeking to intervene in the case, the apex court has asked parties to provide translated copies of excerpts of certain vernacular books which have been relied upon by them.
The SC also directed its Registry to provide copies of video cassettes, which were part of High Court records, to parties on actual cost.
The SC is hearing a batch of cross petitions challenging 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict that had divided the disputed Babri Masjid-Ramjanambhoomi site between the Nirmohi Akhara, Lord Ram deity and the Sunni Waqf Board.
The bench had on December 5, 2017 directed the listing of the matter on February 8 after senior lawyers Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan and Dushyant Dave, appearing for some of the petitioners, had pressed for postponing of the hearing postponed citing its repercussions for the country’s polity.
They had also sought a hearing by a five judge constitution bench.
Sibal, who had appeared for UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, had told the three judge bench that it should not “hear the matter which has repercussions on the polity of the country”.
He had urged the court to have the hearing in July 2019, apparently suggesting that the outcome of the hearing by the top court would have a bearing on 2019 general elections.
However, senior counsel Harish Salve, who appeared on the other side, had said that as far as the court was concerned it was “just a case” and the repercussion of the outcome of the case was none of its outlook.
After the court rejected the submission for postponing the hearing till 2019, including hearing of the matter by a constitution bench, it, on December 5 asked senior counsel CS Vaidyanathan, appeared for deity, to commence his case.
At that point of time, Sibal, Dhavan and Dave sought the leave of the court to withdraw from the hearing.
On December 7, the court took a dim view of the conduct of certain senior lawyers describing it as “shameful”.
(With inputs from agencies)