Babri Masjid case: SC to start final hearing on 5 December

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Initially as the question of translation of the voluminous case records came up, the UP government pushed for an early hearing as seven years had passed since the Allahabad High Court verdict and said it will need only four weeks to translate the documents it was relying on.

The Supreme Court on Friday chose to put a batch of civil appeals concerning the Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute at Ayodhya for final hearing on December 5.

A three-judge Bench headed Justice Dipak Misra - who is all set to take over as the next Chief Justice of India after the present incumbent Justice JS Khehar demits office on August 27 - asked the Uttar Pradesh Government to hand over the translated documents in hard bound form to the counsel representing various parties. But with all senior advocates trying to speak at the same time, the court had a hard time in even fixing the schedule for final hearing in the most sensitive case that the nation has ever faced.

The apex court fixed the matter for further hearing on December 5.

But the appellant counsel maintained their stand and said such practice was unheard of and suggested that the documents should be translated by an external agency. "Babur might have ordered Baqi to build mosque but it was Baqi who chose the site and having demolished the temple got the mosque built", the plea said.

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Another key party in the suit was the Nirmohi Akhara.

There were near acrimonious scenes during the hearing as several advocates attempted to speak simultaneously and commented on each other.

Hindus believe that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya thousands of years ago.

Interestingly, the Special Leave Petition - which challenged a 1946 decision of the Faizabad Civil Court - said the Babri Masjid demolished by Hindu Karsevaks in 1992 was built by demolishing a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Many BJP leaders, including LK Advani and Murali Manohar Joshi, are facing a criminal case in connection with the demolition. The affidavit, filed by Syed Waseem Rizvi, chairman of Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board, disputed the claim of Sunni Waqf Board, saying the Babri Masjid site was its property and only it was entitled to hold negotiations for an amicable settlement of the dispute. However, the CJI had later withdrawn his offer.