BJP targets Cong after Sibal seeks deferment of Ayodhya case

Kapil Sibal

Ayodhya case: Supreme Court hints at referring case to larger bench, if necessary

The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred the final hearing in the long-pending Ayodhya-Ram Janambhoomi case till February 8, 2018 after a specially constituted bench sat a day before the 25th anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition, reports said. The Congress must clarify if Sibal is representing it or the Sunni Waqf Board?

On Wednesday, the hearing in the disputed matter turned into a political slugfest with lawyers for Muslim appellants, including senior counsel Kapil Sibal, questioning the "hurry" to hear the matter now and demanding that it be referred to a Constitution Bench and the hearing be put off till July 2019.

Kapil Sibal argued the case in Supreme Court as a Congress leader and not on behalf of the board, Sunni Waqf Board member Haji Mehboob said. On Tuesday too, Shah said that while Rahul Gandhi is visiting temples, Sibal is looking to slow down the judicial process.

His contention was, however, not accepted by the court which made a decision to hear the matter on February 8 next year.

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The Congress hit back saying the BJP chief is not even aware of the history of the case and insisted that the party will abide by the court's verdict pointing out that it should be lawyer's personal choice who he wants to represent in the court. Thus, the question of an out-of-court settlement in which the Sunni Waqf Board gives up its claims fully or partially over the site of the Babri Masjid remains out of the question. He is entitled to do that but is it right for him to say: postpone hearing till 2019? The special apex court bench is hearing a total of 14 appeals filed against the high court judgment in four civil suits.

Modi said now he understands why the Congress kept many issues unresolved, without elaborating but implying that it was done to derive political mileage.

Rather than seeking an early resolution to this vexed legal issue, why is the Congress party trying to perpetuate uncertainty, he asked. "They are least bothered about the nation", Modi said. The BJP is playing the role of "Manthara', raking up Kapil Sibal's stand on the hearing", Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said, while addressing the media.

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