Today, Mr. Raju Ramchandran appearing for the Wakf Board began arguments in the Ayodhya Title dispute. In the last hearing on 6th April, Mr. Dhavan had emphasized on the need to relook Ismail Faruqui case by a constitution bench. Mr. Raju Ramchandran requested the bench to refer the case to a 5 judge bench owing to the special nature of the dispute. He maintained that it cannot be seen as a simple ‘title dispute’ case.
Mr. Harish Salve, representing the respondents argued that the case should be decided as a ‘title’ dispute. He added that court should not factor in the politics and religious sensitivities and there is no larger ‘constitutional question’ which merits referral to a constitutional bench.
Mr. K. Parasaran echoed Mr. Salve’s argument to say as court's time is important so the hearing should continue under the present 3 judge bench. He said that the case involves admissibility of evidence which can best be done by a 3 judge bench. He referred to the long-standing nature of dispute going back to 1858 and urged the bench to decide it expediently without any delaying tactics. Mr. Ramchandran responded that referring the case as a title dispute is akin to 'living in denial'. This case goes at the heart of our constitutional ethos and must be decided by a constitutional bench. The day's hearing ended inconclusively with Respondents opposing the demand for hearing by a larger bench. The petitioners were demanding hearing by the larger bench as principles of secularism, rule of law needed to be examined while respondents urged the court to see it as private title dispute.
The matter has been posted to be heard on 15th May 2018.