Shia board moves SC for ownership of Babri Masjid

Justice Dipak Misra Justice J S Khehar

The Supreme Court on Friday made a decision to start the hearing on the several petitions related to the dispute of Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi land from December 5.

A three-judge Bench headed Justice Dipak Misra - who is all set to take over as the next Chief Justice of India after the present incumbent Justice JS Khehar demits office on August 27 - asked the Uttar Pradesh Government to hand over the translated documents in hard bound form to the counsel representing various parties.

During the 100-minute long hearing, the Muslim litigant argued against early hearing in the case holding the translation of documents from Persian and Urdu as important for the hearing to progress.

The Uttar Pradesh government insisted that the court hearing begin soon and the parties could, on their own, translate the documents they intend to rely on as and when they require them during the hearings.

The mosque was demolished by Hindu Karsevaks on December 6, 1992 in Ayodhya.

The 30-page affidavit assumes significance as it has been filed within few days of the apex court agreeing to fast track the hearing on a batch of appeals challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict on the land dispute in the case.

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He said during the adjudication of the matter he would like to make out a case that the fundamental right should get precedence over the property right.

Numerous original plantiffs and defendants in the matter including Mohd Hashim, who was the first person to take the matter to the apex court, have died. The Centre sought a "larger debate" on Article 35A, as advocate general K K Venugopal suggested in court, and the matter is with a three-judge bench with possible disposal by September first week.

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had in 2010 ruled a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acres area at the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya.

The board alleged the mosque was being looked after by the Shia community even since it was constructed but the British government had erroneously included it amongst the Sunni Waqfs in 1944 and it had approached Faizabad civil court in 1945 which had dismissed its claim a year after. Swamy had said the main appeals against the Allahabad High Court order were pending for the last seven years in the apex court and these required urgent hearing.

"Since, the Babri Masjid was a Shia Waqf, we are alone entitled to negotiate and arrive at peaceful settlement with other stakeholders", Shia Waqf Board said in its statement.