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Apex Court defers hearing of Ayodhya title dispute case till 8th February

Last Modified Wednesday, 6 December 2017 (12:19 IST)
New Delhi: The today adjourned till February 8 the hearing of various appeals filed in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case.Intending to boycott the proceedings, appellants wanted a seven-Judge constitution bench, to hear the matter.A bench, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, directed the AORs (Advocates-on-Record) of the parties to submit a joint memorandum on completion of translations, numbering and serving of the documents.

Advocate on Record (AoR) MC Dhingra commenced his submissions before the apex court bench. Mr Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Sunni Waqf Board, read out the details of exhibits filed by the contesting defendants before the Allahabad High Court.The other two judges in the bench were Justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer. 

Mr Sibal contended that all these exhibits were not filed before the apex court and the pleadings were not complete.In this first appeal, before the apex court, all the documents which were exhibited before the High Court are to be filed on records.All documents, comprising 19,590 pages, are to be filed before the apex court, Mr Sibal told the apex court. Additional Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state of Uttar Pradesh, rebutted the averments of Mr Sibal.The ASG contended that all the related documents and requisite translation copies are on records.

Mr Sibal raised doubts over the assertions of Mr Mehta that 19,000 pages of documents can be filed in a short duration.He and other petitioners, Mr Sibal said, have not been served with all the relevant documents of pleadings.Senior counsel, Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for one of the parties, pleaded to the apex court to fix a time frame in which the dispute would be adjudicated. The case relates to the sanctity of Article 25 (freedom of conscience and profession, practice and propagation of religion) of the Constitution was concerned. This view was also held by the five-judge bench of the High Court.

The court, Mr Dhawan contended, should refer this matter to a larger bench.Mr Sibal submitted that whenever this matter is heard, there were always grave repercussions outside the court.''To preserve the decorum of law and order, I, personally request this court to take up this matter on July 15, 2019, once all the pleadings are complete,'' Mr Sibal submitted.

Messrs Sibal, Dhawan and Dhingra, along with other petitioner counsel, showed discord with the functioning of this court.Senior lawyer, Dushyant Dave, by way of highlighting various settled judgements in matter of religious sentiments and secularism, pleaded for the setting up of a seven-judge bench to decide the issue. Senior counsel Harish N Salve argued in favour of present coram of this bench.Mr Sibal wanted a constitutional bench reference in this matter as the issue touched the very basis of 'secularism', the basic structure of the Constitution.
Petitioners pleaded for a reasonable time to translate, file and serve the copies of all the exhibits and relevant documents, which were filed before the Allahabad High Court bench.(UNI)
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