Ayodhya Matter: SC refuses to defer the matter till 2019; fixes Feb 8, 2018 as next date of hearing

Supreme Court: Fixing the next hearing on 08.02.2018, the 3-judge bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, JJ asked all the Advocates-on Record appearing for all the parties to work in harmony and see to it that the documents are filed within a time-frame, if not already filed. The Court said that, on the next date, the advocates should come prepared to argue the matter and shall not seek any adjournment and if the Registry finds that the matter is incomplete for some reason or the other, it shall place the matter before the learned Chief Justice of India on the administrative side for fixing a date for completion of the record.

The said order came after Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Sunni Waqf Board, told the Court that the pleadings were not complete as all the exhibits were not filled before the court. However, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, representing the State of Uttar Pradesh, rebutted Kapil Sibal’s claim and told the Court that all the related documents and requisite translation copies were on record.

The Court also expressed shock over certain arguments advanced by Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal and Dushyant Dave. During the course of hearing, the counsels had submitted before the Court that the matter should be heard at present as it was not an ordinary appeal arising out of ordinary suit and that the matter should be listed some time in 2019.

Regarding the submission made by Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan that he would require four months to read prepare and argue, the Court said:

“Dr. Dhavan, learned senior counsel almost thought of writing a Shavian preface, which can more than be main drama or a play, by stating that he would require four months to read, prepare and argue. We have noted this, as the said submission was advanced with medieval passion and sans reason.”

The Court refused to accept the abovementioned submissions.

Rajeev Dhavan had also sought for referring the matter to a larger bench in view of the decision rendered by the Constitution Bench in M. Ismail Faruqui (Dr) v. Union of India, (1994) 6 SCC 360. However, Senior Advocates K. Parasran and Harish Salve submitted before the Court that:

“the issue whether the matter should be referred to a larger Bench or not, cannot be adjudged at this juncture, because the judgment by the Constitution Bench is binding on this Court and further if an occasion arises and if the context so requires, the matter may be considered at that stage, but that should not stall the process of hearing of this matter.”

Refusing to stall the hearing in the matter, the Court listed the matter on 08.02.2018. [M.Siddiq (D) v. Mahant Suresh Das,  2017 SCC OnLine SC 1416, order dated 05.12.2017]

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