Ayodhya case pure land dispute, won't hear daily, says SC

Bangladesh police charge towards activists of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party protesting the verdict against opposition leader Khaleda Zia in Dhaka on February 8

Bangladesh police charge towards activists of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party protesting the verdict against opposition leader Khaleda Zia in Dhaka on February 8

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer refused appellants' plea for day to day hearing, saying "over 700 poor litigants are waiting for justice, we have to hear them".

Supreme Court fixes 14 March as the next date of hearing, as some of the documents and translations are yet to be filed.

The Bench made it clear that no political arguments of any kind will be entertained during the case hearing as the dispute to be addressed is a "pure land dispute". "Once we start hearing the case, it will go on", the apex court said. It also permitted "applications seeking filing of documents which have been exhibited before the High Court" and "applications for deletion of parties".

The Supreme Court had in December past year rejected the vehement submission of Sunni Waqf Board and others that hearing of appeals in the sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute be conducted in July 2019 after the general elections.

Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Sunni Waqf Board, sought for a day-to-day hearing in the case, but the Bench did not consider the same favourably.

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A special bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra said it will hear the appeals on March 14 and clarified that it never meant to hear the case on a "day-to-day basis".

As many as 14 appeals have been filed in the Supreme Court against the Allahabad High Court ruling on four civil suits on September 30, 2010. They challenge the Allahabad high court verdict that mandated a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acre site. Depositions and statements of 87 witnesses had also been brought on the record.

The Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court had ruled in favour of partitioning the land equally among three parties-the Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and the "Ram Lalla" (infant Lord Ram), represented by the Hindu Mahasabha. "What happened yesterday (December 6) was shameful".

No less than three prior cases in the Ayodhya matter have been chosen by a bigger Bench of the Supreme Court when the suits for title were pending in the High Court. "What happened day before yesterday (December 5) was extremely shameful", Chief Justice Dipak Misra had said.

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