Ayodhya case purely a property dispute, Hindu bodies tell Supreme Court


Hindu religious bodies on April 27 told the Supreme Court that the Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute in Ayodhya was purely a “property dispute” and the issue of political or religious senstivities cannot be a ground to refer the matter to a larger bench.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer was told by senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for original plaintiff Gopal Singh Visharad who was among the first to file a civil suit in the case way back in 1950, that there was no need to refer the matter to a larger bench since a three-judge bench was already seized of it.
Mr. Salve said that as per the prevalent practices and traditions of the apex court, the appeals against orders passed by a full bench of any High Court have always come up for adjudication before a three-judge bench of the top court, instead of a two-judge bench.Senior advocate K. Parasaran, appearing for the deity, Ram Lalla Virajman, also supported Mr. Salve’s arguments and said the matter should be heard by a three-judge bench only.
Senior advocate Raju Ramachandaran, appearing for the Muslim bodies and petitioner M. Siddiq, said that looking at the sensitivities of the matter and its sheer importance, the case should be referred to a larger bench. The hearing remained inconclusive and would continue on May 15.
The special bench of the apex court is seized of a total of 14 appeals filed against the Allahabad High Court judgement 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 be partitioned equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.


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