SC to take Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhomi final verdict on 8 Feb

The Supreme Court on Tuesday began with the hearing of the disputed Babri Masjid and the Ram Janambhoomi case. As soon as the hearing began and the bench of Chief Justice Deepak Mishra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazir, listened to the arguments of the parties, the proceedings were stopped and the court issued 8 Feb as the next date of the hearing. It is also being speculated that on 8 Feb the apex court will announce its final verdict regarding the case. On Tuesday, 5 Dec, the bench was hearing the appeal against the verdict given by the Allahabad High Court in 2010.

The court also issued orders to all the lawyers involved in the case to complete all the related documents and paperwork, so that the hearing is not postponed until another date anymore. According to the sources, the proceedings were disrupted today due to incomplete paperwork. On behalf of the Sunni Waqf Board, Kapil Sibal appealed to the court that the hearing be discarded until the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as the decision of the court will have a big impact in the country. It was in their election manifesto that they would construct a temple legally. If the hearing is done then the political future of the country will be affected. So far, all the paperwork has not been completed.

Responding to the appeal of Kapil Sibal, the CIJ expressed displeasure, he said that it is not the concern of the court as to what issues are going on outside, the other side of the party had said that the paperwork has been completed so the hearing should be started. There was a strong debate in the courts on both sides, after which the annoyed CIJ  said that all the parties were ready for hearing in January and are now saying that hearing will be done after July 2019.

Earlier due to the incomplete documents the court had set the date of hearing in Dec and had also asked the concerned people to get the documents which were in eight different languages be translated into English. Translation is now complete. The court had directed all the parties to translate the court documents of seven languages, Hindi, Hindi, Pali, Urdu, Arabic, Parsi, Sanskrit etc. in English in 12 weeks. The Uttar Pradesh government was tasked with translating oral evidence of various languages into English.

On 6 Dec, the disputed matter of the demolition of the Babri Masjid and building of the Ram temple will complete its 25 years. On December 6, 1992, thousands of right-wing activists had demolished the Babri structure built in the 16th century. The country’s worst riots followed the Babri Masjid demolition, wherein 2,000 people were killed.

In 2010, Allahabad High Court in its decision ordered the disputed site to be divided between Sunni Waqf Board, Ramlala Virajman and Nirmohi Akhara in 3 equal parts. Nobody was satisfied with this decision and hence both the Hindu and Muslim organization had reached the Supreme Court against this verdict. In March 2017, the court had however suggested that an out of court settlement be reached to the dispute.

The Shia Waqf Board had proposed that the Ram Temple be built at the disputed site and a grand mosque be built at the state capital Lucknow. “If the Ram temple and mosque co-exist, it will lead to conflicts,” the Shia body said. However, this suggestion of the Shia board was highly criticised by its Sunni counterpart.

The Sunni Board on Tuesday argued that “Wasim Rizvi of the Shia Board “has no documents or rights in this case.” Iqbal Ansari of the Sunni board further added that the court does not take decisions based on faiths and believe but declares the verdict based on facts and evidence. “We have high expectations from the court. The court doesn’t pass decisions based on faith but on evidence. I have 100 percent believe that the decision will be in our favour because we have given the evidence that the mosque was destroyed here,” he said.

The Babri Masjid was built by Mughal emperor Babur in Ayodhya in 1528, however, the Hindus claimed that the site where the Masjid was built was the birthplace of Lord Ram and that there was a Ram Temple there before Babur built the Masjid. A group of 32 civil rights activists had last week had urged the court not o take the matter so lightly “like a narrow property dispute and instead recognise the ramifications of letting religion dictate the fate of a piece of land”.

They had filed a petition seeking that the land be made available for all equally. The petition read that “The outcome of this dispute, perpetrated and violent, has the potential to affect the very foundations on which Indian democracy stands.” However, the court has not yet accepted the petition.