Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid: Live Updates of the Ayodhya case from the SC
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Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid: Live Updates of the Ayodhya case from the SC

Bar & Bench

The hearing in the case relating to the Ayodhya dispute is currently underway at the Supreme Court of India.

The case was referred to be heard by a Constitution Bench of the Court on January 9 this year. Earlier a three-judge Bench had earlier declined to refer the matter to a larger Bench, which involved the reconsideration of the Court’s 1994 judgment in Ismail Farooqui v. Union of India.

The case is now being heard by a Constitution Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer.

Live updates of today’s hearing follow:

  • We would like to give to counsel for parties copies of report of Secretary General and signed by four Registrars, says CJI Ranjan Gogoi.
  • CJI Ranjan Gogoi now reading out from the Secretary General’s report, the details of various documents which have been submitted to the Court in the case.
  • Once we start the hearing, we dont want the parties disputing the correctness of translation of documents and delaying the hearing, CJI Ranjan Gogoi.
  • Once we have an agreement on the correctness of translated documents, we can proceed, says CJI Ranjan Gogoi.
  • CS Vaidyanathan tracing the earlier orders of SC relating to translation of documents. Says time for translation of documents over. “That is what we are saying, if the parties agree we can proceed”, CJI Ranjan Gogoi.
  • Sr. Adv. Rajeev Dhavan, on behalf of Muslim parties, submits that his instruction is that they have not examined the translation of documents given by State of Uttar Pradesh.
  • CS Vaidyanathan objects to Dhavan’s stance. Bench having a discussion.
  • This penultimate exercise (of examining translated documents) has to be undertaken. We were waiting for official translation, every document here has relevance, Rajeev Dhavan.
  • After directions for translation were issued by this court, the case went on the track of reference to larger Bench. Hence, could not examine the translated documents, says Rajeev Dhavan.
  • CS Vaidyanathan submits vehemently that examination of translated documents were done, refers to order of December 5, 2017.
  • We are not going to waste time unless parties agree to translated documents, remarks CJI Ranjan Gogoi.
  • CS Vaidyanathan refers to page 12 of 2017 order, says no objection on translation was raised by any AoR then. Now two years later they are coming up with this objection, he submits.
  • Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar also weighing in. Arguing against allowing more time for examination of translated documents.
  • “I take some objection to the two words that have been used against my party. Not bona fide and not appropriate”, submits Rajeev Dhavan.
  • “Few of the judges here who were on the Bench then know that I had come prepared to argue the case back then. So this accusation that we don’t want to argue the case won’t do”, submits Rajeev Dhavan.
  • We have never examined the translations of Uttar Pradesh, Rajeev Dhavan.
  • What kind of a time frame are you looking at? (to examine the UP translations), CJI Ranjan Gogoi asks Rajeev Dhavan.
  • Sr. Adv. Dushyant Dave submits that examination of documents can be done within a time frame of 8 to 12 weeks.
  • CS Vaidyanathan now citing a four year old order on translation of documents. “This is really not fair. Four years have passed”, he says.
  • Rajeev Dhavan objects to CS Vaidyanathan. “So far, Your Lordships have not been able to hear me because of intervention. This is not the way – to get up when you like and argue”, says Dhavan.
  • Significant remarks by Justice SA Bobde “Even if there is one percent chance for mediation between parties, we should give it an opportunity”, SA Bobde J.
  • Sr. Dushyant Dave says difficulty with mediation is that lack of its progress may weigh on us.
  • Sr. Adv. Rajeev Dhavan says “If Your Lordships want to try it, I wont oppose it.”
  • CS Vaidyanathan not open to the idea of mediation. “It has been tried not once but several times”, submits Vaidyanathan.
  • “Mediation is not possible, not agreeable. Your Lordships may decide the matter as early as possible”, submits Sr. Adv. Ranjit Kumar.
  • Subramanian Swamy tries to make submissions, but Rajeev Dhavan objects saying he is not party to the case, his intervention was disallowed. Gogoi J. however allows Swamy to make submissions.
  • A compromise has to include a minimum condition that Hindus will have a right to pray where Lord Ram was born, submits Subramanian Swamy.
  • Supreme Court dictating order now.
  • We are of the view that translated records have to be in place over which no controversy can be raised, Supreme Court.
  • We direct the parties to examine translated documents and point out objections, agreements with the translated documents within 6 weeks, orders Supreme Court.
  • Court also asks Parties to explore mediation as an option to settle the dispute. “We are not agreeable”, reiterates Vaidyanathan. “We will do nothing against your wish”, assures CJI Ranjan Gogoi.
  • Supreme Court records objection of CS Vaidyanathan in its order. Court defers passing orders on referring matter to mediation till next date of hearing.
  • Rajeev Dhavan now making submissions on fresh challenge to 1993 Ayodhya Act, says it would amount to review of Ismail Faruqui judgment.
  • Bench rises. Next hearing on March 5 when Court is likely to pass order on whether matter should be referred for mediation.
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