The Supreme Court has deferred the hearing in the politically controversial Babri Masjid-Ram temple dispute case for February 8, 2018, after the petitioners asked for reasonable time to get all the relevant documents ready.
The apex court said that this would be the last opportunity for the petitioners to get papers ready and no delays would be allowed after this. Kapil Sibal is representing Sunni Waqf Board and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta is representing the State of Uttar Pradesh.
During the hearing, the SC rejected Sunni Waqf Board's plea to hear the Ayodhya dispute case after 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Waqf Board, Babri Action Committee said it may boycott proceedings if hearing begins today. The board wanted the case to be heard by a five-judge or seven-judge Constitution bench.
At the outset, senior advocate Kapil Sibal readout on the details of exhibits filed by the contesting defendants before the Allahabad High Court. Soutsettold the three-judge bench of the Supreme Court that all these exhibits are not filed before this court. He submitted that all the pleadings are not complete.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, representing the State of Uttar Pradesh, rebutted all the averments of Kapil Sibal. Mehta told SC that all the related documents and requisite translation copies are on record.
Kapil Sibal raised doubts over assertions of ASG Mehta that how come more than 19000 pages of documents can be filed in such a short time. Sibal told SC he and other petitioners have not been served relevant documents of the pleadings.
Subsequently, Sunni Waqf Board requests time to translate, file all exhibits and relevant documents, which were filed before the Allahabad High Court bench at Lucknow.
After today's proceedings, Wasim Rizvi,Shia Waqf Board Chairman on Ayodhya hearing, said that the Supreme Court has taken the formula proposed by them on record.
Meanwhile, Shyam Benegal and Teesta Setalvad have filed a petition in the apex court seeking deferment of the hearing. The hearing is taking place just a day ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya in December 1992.