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Mudda panellists feel that onus rests on government to implement the order; one should not ignore the syncreticism and spirit of secularism prevailing in the city

On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, the Supreme Court began its final hearing in the Ayodhya dispute case.

The case is being heard by a bench comprising chief justice Dipak Misra and justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer. The bench has been specially constituted for the case. It will be hearing 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgment of the Allahabad high court in four civil suits. This is the final hearing in the long-standing Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute.

The high court had then ordered a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acre area among the parties—the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Lord Ram Lalla. Anchorperson Anant Tyagi took up the issue in APN’s popular debate Mudda. Panellists included Anil Pratap Singh, former chairman of the UP Bar Council, Justice RB Mishra, former chief justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court, IB Singh, advocate of the Allahabad High Court, Ravindra Singh, political analyst, Haseeb Siddiqui, senior journalist, and Govind Pant Raju, APN consultant.

Justice Mishra said the matter is in the nature of an SLP (special leave petition), not an original suit, and the bench will be examining all the records in detail.

Anil Pratap Singh said the matter is in the appellate stage (concerned or dealing with applications for decisions to be reversed). People [like BJP leader Subramanian Swamy] who are filing interlocutory applications (IAs) [on the right to worship Ram Lalla at the site] will only create hindrance in court proceedings. He said filing IAs at this stage is not good for the judicial system though in a democracy everybody has the right to express themselves.

IB Singh, too, said that the apex court should dismiss IAs filed by prominent people like Shyam Benegal or Medha Patkar. He said they are just meant to hog the media spotlight.

Even Justice Mishra felt that IAs are “a waste of time”, as “what new additions will these people who are filing IAs make?”

Ravindra Singh said that if the matter had been left to the people of Ayodhya to decide, both Hindus and Muslims, it would have been settled a long time ago. He said that the case has become politicised.  Singh added that the Supreme Court should simply reject the appeals of those who are trying to interfere in the case.

Raju said two things have come to light. One, who will lay claim to the disputed site? Another, of a religious nature, is about the worshipping of Rama at the site. He added that people who are interfering are, in fact, insulting the court, that is already taxed with so much work load. He said within Ayodhya amity exists between the two communities and clothes for Ram Lalla are being happily stitched by Muslim tailors.

Haseeb Siddiqui was of the view that once the SC gives its verdict, all people should calmly accept it.

Justice Mishra said that after this stage there is very little scope for review petitions, even if they get filed.

Anil Pratap Singh said that once the apex court gives its verdict, the onus is on the government to ensure that the verdict is duly implemented.

An APN news clip informed that Kapil Sibal, representing the Sunni Waqf Board, requested the bench to postpone the hearing. Sibal requested that the hearing should begin after the Lok Sabha polls of 2019, arguing that all exhibits have not been shared with the board. 

Raju commented that Sibal’s statement is purely political in nature, as it is aimed only at ensuring that the BJP does not grab any mileage from the court verdict.

Compiled by Niti Singh Bhandari

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