The Supreme Court will resume hearing in the long-standing Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute today, the Indian Express has reported.
The apex court will hear cross-appeals against the Allahabad High Court order which partitioned the disputed site in Ayodhya three ways among the parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Lord Ram Lalla.
The case was last heard on 5 December 2017 by a three-judge bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Abdul Nazeer.
According to the daily’s report, those arguing the case for the Babri Masjid are likely to demand that the apex court constitute a larger bench of “at least seven judges” to hear the appeal. Three earlier cases in the Ayodhya dispute have been decided by a bench larger than the current one, the daily noted.
During the last hearing, Former Union Minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal appeared for Iqbal Ansari and asked that the matter be heard after the 2019 general elections. Responding to Sibal’s argument outside the court, Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said, “By seeking deferment of the Ayodhya case until after the 2019 polls, Sibal has politicised the dispute. The Congress must clarify if Sibal is representing it or the Sunni Board? Or, is it the case that the board and the Congress are working in tandem?”
The top court had on 11 August 2017 asked the Uttar Pradesh government to complete within 10 weeks the translation of the evidence recorded for adjudication of the title dispute in the high court. The Yogi Adityanath government has submitted the English translation of exhibits and documents likely to be relied upon, as these were in eight different languages.
The Shia Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh had earlier 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.
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