Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi Dispute: Supreme Court to Resume Hearing Today, Muslims May Seek Larger Bench

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New Delhi, Feb 8: The Supreme Court will resume hearing civil-appeals against a September 2010 Allahabad High Court order which had ruled a three-way division of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid area at Ayodhya. The cross-appeals, that were last heard on December 5, will be presented before a three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

Among the cross-appeals, it is likely that the side arguing for deceased Hashim Ansari may demand that the matter should be heard by a larger Bench. The courts had earlier spoken about hearing by a larger Bench, at least seven, in the matter of national and Constitutional importance.

The demand, which was raised last year in December, was kept open for consideration. In fact, three earlier Ayodhya related cases have been heard by a larger Bench of the Supreme Court.

On December 5, 2017, a special Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, justice Ashok Bhushan and justice S Abdul Nazeer heard a total of 13 appeals filed against the 2010 order. The High Court had then ruled a partition of the disputed area among — the All India Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

A sect of Muslims, under the banner of Shia Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh, had then approached the court and offered that a mosque could be built in a Muslim-dominated area at a “reasonable distance” from the disputed site.

Ahead of the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit, the Babri Masjid Action Committee claims to be all set for the hearing.

“We are all set for the hearing. UP Shia Board’s chairman Waseem Rizvi has a habit of staying in news by stirring a controversy and probably that’s the reason the Board got into the Babri case. However, he does not have any role to play and claims made by him will not affect the Supreme Court proceedings,” senior lawyer Zafaryab Jilani was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Giriraj Singh called upon the Sunni faction of the Muslim community to lend their support for the construction of Ram Temple.

“Shias have given their support for Ram Temple. Sunnis must lend their support too. Every Indian is descendant of Ram. Hindus and Muslims will come together to build the temple. If Ram Temple is not built in India where else will that be? Pakistan?” he was quoted as saying by ANI.