The 3 Judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and Justices D Y Chandrachud and A M Khanwilkar resumed hearings in this case. The case will decide which party has the title to the disputed Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi site.
In the last hearing on 5th December 2017, the court had rejected Mr Kapil Sibal’s request for postponement of the matter until July 2019 and had directed the advocates-on-record to ensure that all documents, pleadings, and exhibits were translated and filed by 8th February 2018.
Today, the hearing started with a few interventions and impleadment applications by certain groups whose counsels argued that the matter had far-reaching consequences, thus requesting the Court to allow them to intervene. CJI Dipak Misra clarified that the matter would be heard as a title dispute and the question of intervention by anyone did not arise.
Thereafter, Mr Tushar Mehta, ASG, presented the status report on the exhibits and their translations, praying that the bench begins hearings. Mr. Ejaz Maqbool, the AoR for the petitioners, then proceeded with his status report, pointing out that some of the vernacular documents and books, relied on by the Allahabad High Court were yet to be translated and indicated that additionally, the respondents might file relevant extracts of books on which they were relying. He sought 2 weeks time for the translation of some documents and the bench granted this prayer. Both parties also requested the bench to allow applications for exemption, deletion, substitution, etc. only by the parties and not by intervenors or impleaders and the bench agreed to this request as well.
When the bench began to dictate the order to list the matter on 14th March 2018, Rajeev Dhavan objected to this manner of piecemeal hearing on this case, given its importance, thus requesting the bench to form a constitutional bench. However, this request was declined. So, the day ended with procedural formalities without any substantial arguments.
The matter is listed to be next heard on 14.03.2018.