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Kapil Sibal, appearing for Sunni Wakf Board on Tuesday (December 5) urged the Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer dealing with Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute that the appeals be heard after completion of the next Lok Sabha polls as the atmosphere at present was not congenial.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta representating Uttar Pradesh government contested the submissions of Sibal by saying that the adjournment can’t be given as “it was clearly mentioned in the previous order that no adjournment will be given”.

To which the CJI agreed and said “it was constitutional bench judgment it is binding on us”.

The Court was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute. The Allahabad High Court in its ruling had ordered the disputed land be divided into three equal parts among the Nirmohi Akhara, the Sunni Waqf Board and the diety Ram Lalla.

“The Advocates on Record appearing for the parties have assured this Court that they will sit together, work in harmony and will see to it that the documents are filed within a timeframe, if not already filed. If any part of the pleadings are required to be exchanged, that should be exchanged so that there will be no adjournment on this score, and hearing in the case can commence. The documents shall be numbered by the Advocates on Record. They shall file a common memorandum when all documents are ready. If there is any problem, they may contact the Registry of this Court. If required, the Registry shall permit inspection of documents by Advocates on Record for both sides,” the bench said in the order.

The bench further said in the order, “We are sure that learned counsel for the parties will come prepared to argue the matter and shall not seek any adjournment. However, the Advocates on Record shall intimate to the Registry as directed herein above, and if the Registry finds that the matter is incomplete for some reason or the other, it shall place the matter before the Chief Justice of India on the administrative side for fixing a date for completion of the record.”

The bench listed the matter for the next hearing on February 8, 2018.

—India Legal Bureau

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