The Supreme Court on Thursday, 8 February, said it will deal with the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case as a pure land dispute and refused to hear it on a day-to-day basis.
Meanwhile, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), which is beginning a crucial three-day plenary in Hyderabad on Friday, 9 February, demanded contempt of court proceedings against those speaking of building a Ram temple at the site of the razed Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
Beginning the hearing, a special bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer posted it for 14 March, asking parties in the case to file English translations of the documents before it.
After senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for one of the petitioners, sought day-to-day hearings, the bench refused saying: “Over 700 poor litigants are waiting for justice, we have to hear them.”
The court also said it will hear at later stage the impleadment applications of those which were not before the Allahabad High Court.
The court was hearing a batch of cross petitions challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict that had divided, in by a 2:1 majority, the disputed Babri Masjid-Ram janambhoomi site between the Nirmohi Akhara, Lord Ram deity and the Sunni Waqf Board.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, told the court that 504 exhibits, including books such as the Ram Charit Manas, Ramayana and Bhagawat Gita, written in various languages, have been translated and filed in the court.
The depositions of 87 witnesses have also been filed along with the Archaeological Survey of India’s reports as well as photographs. However, some translations are yet to be completed, he added.
The top court was moved challenging the High Court verdict by petitioners M Siddiqui, represented by his legal heirs, the Nirmohi Akhara, the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, Bhagwan Shri Ram Virajman, All India Hindu Mahasabha’s Swami Chakrapani, the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, the Akhil Bharatiya Sri Ramjanam Bhoomi Punardhar Samiti and others.
Addressing reporters ahead of the AIMPLB meet, its spokesman Maulana Sajaad Nomani said those speaking of building a grand Ram temple at the site represented a “clear case of contempt of court” and that the court and the government should take action.
He said the Board would present its case before the Supreme Court and abide by its verdict.