Today’s hearing assumes significance in the wake of the rejection by a special bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, the vehement submission by Sunni Waqf Board and others that the pleas be heard after the next general elections.
The bench, also comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, had made clear on 5 December last year, that it would begin final hearing on the petitions from 8 February and had asked the parties to file the requisite pleadings in the meantime.
Senior lawyers including Kapil Sibal and Rajeev Dhavan had contended that the civil appeals be either referred to a five or seven-judge bench or posted in 2019 keeping in mind the sensitive nature of the case and its ramifications on the country’s secular fabric and polity.
The top court had asked the advocates on records (AoRs), dealing with as many 14 civil appeals against the 2010 judgment of the Allahabad High Court in the land dispute, to ensure that all required documents are translated, filed and numbered before the apex court Registry.
The special bench of the apex court is seized of a total 14 appeals filed against the High Court judgment delivered in four civil suits.
A three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had in 2010 ordered that the land is partitioned equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara, and Ram Lalla.