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Ayodhya Dispute: Hearing delayed again as Muslim side say translation not examined, SC proposes mediation

The hearing, which was supposed to be held late last month on January 29, was postponed due to the unavailability of Justice SA Bobde, who is part of the five-judge Constitution bench hearing the case

The hearing in the long impending Ayodhya land dispute case which was to be heard by the Supreme Court today has been postponed to March 5. The hearing in the case before the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court could not commence in view of the disagreement between the parties over the authenticity of translation of records.

Earlier, during the proceedings, the court reiterated that it is in favour of a mediation on the matter as it is not only thinking about the ownership of land but also about healing relationships. “Even if there is one per cent chance for mediation between parties, we should give it an opportunity,” Justice SA Bobde said.

However, the Hindu parties represented by Senior Counsel C S Vaidyanathan and Ranjit Kumar were not open to the idea of mediation. The Muslim groups represented by Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhawan expressed their willingness for mediation if the Court directed so.

The Court will pass orders on next Tuesday on whether the issue should be referred to a Court appointed mediator.

The hearing was adjourned for six weeks to enable the parties to examine the translations of records prepared by the UP Government. The parties were directed by the Court to examine the records and point out their objections. CJI Gogoi made it clear that the hearing will commence only if parties accept the translations prepared by the UP Government as authentic.

While Senior Advocate C S Vaidyanathan, who appeared for Ram Lalla, endorsed the authenticity of translations, Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhawan, who appeared for Sunni Waqf Board, objected.

Significantly, Vaidyanathan said that the translations were completed by 2017 itself and all the parties had accepted the same. He added that at that time no party had raised any objections on the translations. But Rajeev Dhavan maintained that his party has not examined the translations.

In view of this disagreement, the CJI remarked that the Court will not waste its time if parties are not agreeable on translations.

The hearing, which was supposed to be held late last month on January 29, was postponed due to the unavailability of Justice SA Bobde, who is part of the five-judge Constitution bench hearing the case.

This was, however, the second the time hearing in the long-delayed case has been postponed in this month. On January 8, CJI Ranjan Gogoi had formed the 5-judge bench for the case which included Justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, UU Lalit and D Y Chandrachud apart from the CJI. But when the hearing started before the bench on January 10, Justice UU Lalit recused himself from the case. He had done so because advocate Rajiv Dhawan, who represents the Muslim side in the case, pointed it out that Justice Lalit had represented former UP CM Kalyan Singh, in contempt of court case twenty-four years ago. Although that case was not directly linked to the Ayodhya case, Justice Lalit had decided to recuse himself. Therefore, the hearing was adjourned until January 29.

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