In a new twist in the politically sensitive Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case, the Muslim parties have received flak from the concerned Hindu parties, for submitting the ‘moulding of relief’ in a sealed envelope before the court.
The objecting Hindu parties have alleged that this is a gross violation of court orders. In a letter to Secretary-General of the Supreme Court, it said the Muslim parties did not take permission to file documents related to relief before the court in a sealed cover.
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The letter by the Hindu side said: “The filing of submissions in a sealed cover without service upon the parties appearing in the case is improper and cannot be taken on record, especially when the hearing of the case is concluded and judgement is reserved.”
“The practice of filing written submissions in a sealed is not permissible as it encourages addressing the court in secrecy, keeping the other party in the dark, and it would also prejudice the rights of the other parties”, said the Hindu side.
Ejaz Maqbool, advocate-on-record, for one of the main litigants in the case, filed the submissions in a sealed cover. It is learnt it is a joint submission by all the Muslim parties involved in the matter.
The “moulding of relief” in civil disputes is usually nature of relief parties seek from the court, and it can be resorted to at the time of consideration of final relief in the main suit and not at an interlocutory stage. In simple terms means the kind of other options that the SC can consider incase the verdict does not go in favour of any party.
The Supreme Court on October 16 had reserved its judgement in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case after hearing arguments from all the concerned parties.
The Hindu side has also urged the court to return the sealed cover submissions as defective and that it should not be placed before the five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi as they questioned as to why the Muslim parties were trying to maintain secrecy and keeping the other parties in the dark.
It is pertinent to note here that while the Muslim parties had made submissions in a sealed envelope the Hindu parties had made the details of its ‘moulding of relief’ public.
Kartick Chopra, the spokesperson for Nirmohi Akhara, said: “Sealed cover submission is not at all accepted. How do we know what is filed? Technically, they should have circulated their submissions among other parties involved in the dispute.”
The marathon hearing in the case concluded after forty days, making the Ayodhya hearing as the second-longest in the history of the Supreme court after the landmark hearing in Keshavananda Bharati case which lasted for 68 days.
Reportedly, the Supreme Court finished hearing all arguments in the Ayodhya case one hour before the set deadline. The Supreme Court has allowed the parties to submit their written notes over the next three days.
On the last day, in a high octane drama, the senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing the Muslim parties in the Ram Janmabhoomi – Babri Masjid land dispute case, suffered a meltdown and tore up a pictorial map showing the exact birthplace of Lord Ram.
Later, Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) filed a complaint with the Bar Council of India (BCI) against Dhavan. BJP leader Abhishek Dubey also filed a police complaint demanding FIR against advocate Rajeev Dhavan.
Moreover, the Supreme Court witnessed another drama on the last day of hearing after the CJI fixed 5 pm as the deadline for concluding arguments in the protracted legal battle. “Enough is enough”, had said the bench, which revised the deadline for the case from October 17 to a day earlier.
The Supreme Court had been hearing a total of fourteen appeals filed against the 2010 judgment of Allahabad High Court which ordered that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among three parties – the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi had earlier asked for parties to conclude their arguments in the land dispute case to be concluded by October 17. The bench also comprises of Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, who are hearing appeals against the September 30, 2010, verdict of the Allahabad High Court.
The Supreme Court has been carrying out day-to-day hearing of the case and the arguments were to be concluded by 18th October but then, October 17 was given the last date for arguments. The Supreme Court had earlier warned that the parties will not be given any extra day. It is speculated that the Supreme Court will deliver the judgement on or before November 17, the day CJI Ranjan Gogoi retires.