Ayodhya case presented as ‘property dispute’

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 The Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid demolition case dispute in Ayodhya was purely a “property dispute”, Hindu religious bodies have told the Supreme Court

The issue of political or religious senstivities cannot be a ground to refer the matter to a larger bench, they added.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer was told by senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for original plaintiff Gopal Singh Visharad who was among the first to file a civil suit in the case way back in 1950, that there was no need to refer the matter to a larger bench since a three-judge bench was already seized of it,  media reports said.

Salve reportedly said that as per the prevalent practices and traditions of the apex court, the appeals against orders passed by a full bench of any high court have always come up for adjudication before a three-judge bench of the top court, instead of a two-judge bench.

Senior advocate K Parasaran, appearing for the deity, Ram Lalla Virajman, also supported Salve’s arguments and said the matter should be heard by a three-judge bench only, reported PTI.

Senior advocate Raju Ramachandaran, appearing for the Muslim bodies and petitioner M Siddiq, was quoted as saying that looking at the sensitivities of the matter and its sheer importance, the case should be referred to a larger bench.

The hearing would continue on May 15, the report said.