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Supreme Court Says It Will Treat Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Case as ‘Pure Land Dispute’

File photo of The Supreme Court of India.

File photo of The Supreme Court of India.

A special bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that it would hear the appeals on March 14 and clarified that it never intended to hear the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute on a "day-to-day basis".

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said that it would treat the politically sensitive Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute as a "pure land dispute", an indication that the centuries-old history attached to the case was of no significance to it.

The three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer adjourned the hearing in the case as some documents and translations have not been filed yet.

The bench said that it would hear the appeals on March 14 and clarified that it never intended to hear the case on a "day-to-day basis".

The top court said the excerpts of vernacular books, which have been relied upon in the case, be translated in English and be filed within two weeks from now.

The apex court also directed its Registry to provide copies of video cassettes, which were part of high court records, to parties on actual cost.

The special bench of the apex court is seized of a total 14 appeals filed against the high court judgment delivered in four civil suits.

A three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had in 2010 ordered that the land be partitioned equally among three parties - the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

Thursday’s hearing was disciplined and somber, in stark contrast to the last one in February which had descended into a shouting match after senior lawyers Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan and Dushyant Dave, appearing for some of the petitioners, had pressed for postponing of the hearing to after the 2019 Lok Sabha election, citing its repercussions for the country's polity.

They had also sought a hearing by a five-judge Constitution Bench. After the court rejected the submission, the three lawyers sought the leave of the court to withdraw from the hearing. The apex court had taken a dim view of the conduct of certain senior lawyers describing it as "shameful".