The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing in the Ayodhya case for February 8, 2018. The case was being heard by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, The Indian Express writes.
Citing political ramifications, senior counsel Kapil Sibal asked the court to hear the matter only in July 2019. Meanwhile, appellant Muslim parties questioned the reason for hearing the case now and wondered if there was some kind of “hurry”, The Indian Express informs.
The history of the Ayodhya conflict can be dated back to 1853 when two groups, Hindus and Muslims, clashed over the site of worship. However, the first lawsuit was filed on January 29, 1885, when the Mahant of Janmasthan, Raghubar Das, filed a civil suit against the Secretary of State for India in Council to build a temple at the Ram Chabutara spot.
In independent India, the first lawsuit was filed after 1949, and in 1959, Nirmohi Akhara filed a litigation laying claim to the disputed site. Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Waqf board also filed a litigation seeking possession of Babri mosque in 1961.
The Allahabad High Court, in its verdict on September 30, 2010, distributed the 2.77 acres of the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi site into three parts, giving each to Nirmohi Akhara sect, the Sunni Central Wakf Board, UP, and Ramlalla Virajman. However, the order was challenged before the Supreme Court on May 9, 2011, which in its verdict stayed the operation of the decree and ordered status quo of the land and other adjoining areas acquired by the Centre in 1993.
The Apex Court on February 25, 2013, allowed the replacement of worn out tarpaulin, polythene sheet by new ones of the same size and quality. On August 11, 2017, the parties have been given three months to translate all oral evidence and exhibited documents in various languages. This process has been completed and the much-awaited verdict in Ayodhya dispute case was expected to come this month.
Pro-Hindu radicals claim that the mosque was deliberately built atop a much older temple that marked the birthplace of Ram, a god and hero described in Hindu myth as the Prince of Ayodhya. The now-ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has long courted Hindu votes by demanding “reconstruction” of the temple—a call that has alienated India’s 14 percent Muslim minority, The Economist notes.