SC likely to commence hearing on Ayodhya title suit on Thursday

New Delhi, Feb 8: The Supreme Court is likely to commence hearing on Thursday on a batch of cross petitions challenging 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict that had divided the disputed Babri Masjid-Ramjanambhoomi site between the Nirmohi Akhara, Lord Ram deity and the Sunni Waqf Board. The matter is listed for hearing at 2 p.m. on Thursday before the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer. The bench had on December 5, 2017 directed the listing of the matter on February 8 after senior lawyers Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan and Dushyant Dave, appearing for some of the petitioners, had pressed for postponing of the hearing postponed citing its repercussions for the country's polity. They had also sought a hearing by a five judge constitution bench. Sibal, who had appeared for UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, had told the three judge bench that it should not "hear the matter which has repercussions on the polity of the country".  He had urged the court to have the hearing in July 2019, apparently suggesting that the outcome of the hearing by the top court would have a bearing on 2019 general elections. However, senior counsel Harish Salve, who appeared on the other side, had said that as far as the court was concerned it was "just a case" and the repercussion of the outcome of the case was none of its outlook. He had said that "it is being presumed which way the verdict will go..." After the court rejected the submission for postponing the hearing till 2019, including hearing of the matter by a constitution bench, it, on December 5 asked senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan, appeared for deity, to commence his case. At that point of time, Sibal, Dhavan and Dave sought the leave of the court to withdraw from the hearing. On December 7, the court took a dim view of the conduct of certain senior lawyers describing it as "shameful". "What happened yesterday (December 6) was shameful. What happened day before yesterday (December 5) was extremely shameful," Chief Justice Misra had said. "Unfortunately, a small group of lawyers think they can raise their voice. We make it clear that raising of voice will not be tolerated. Raising of voice only shows your (lawyers) inadequacy and incompetence," he had said. Reminding the Bar of its traditions, he said: "It is not the tradition of the Bar. If the Bar does not regulate itself, we will." The top court was moved challenging the High Court verdict by petitioners M. Siddiqui represented by his legal heirs, Nirmohi Akhara, UP Sunni Central Waqf ABoard Bhagwan Shri Ram Virajman, All India Hindu Mahasabha's Swami Chakrapani, the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, the Akhil Bharatiya Sri Ramjanam Bhoomi Punardhar Samiti and others.