Now, PM welcomes Sunni Waqf Board statement 'disowning' Sibal

The Supreme Court had on Tuesday rejected the submission of the Sunni Waqf Board and some other Muslim organisations party to the case that the hearing of appeals in the sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute be conducted in July 2019 after the general elections and fixed February 8 to hear them.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer will hear the case. Prime Minister said, "I congratulate Sunni Waqf Board for their statement -- their statement is good and I welcome it". He, however, noted that the Congress has said the views expressed by Sibal, who represents the Sunni Waqf Board in the case in the Supreme Court, were his own.

"Why does he have to link a Ram Mandir (temple) with elections. Or, is it the case that the board and the Congress are working in tandem?" he asked. "We want that the case is solved at the earliest", he stressed. Indeed, even in this instance, Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan, and Dushyant Dave were appearing for the litigants, and the Waqf Board could be backing off now because it doesn't want to be embroiled in a controversy, said a lawyer appearing for one of the litigants on condition of anonymity.

The High court, in 2010, had decided that the disputed land of 2.77 acre will be divided in three-way among the parties - the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara, and the Lord Ram Lalla. His statement in the court was wrong. "He is entitled to do that, but is it right for him to say postpone the hearing till 2019?"

"The hearing was taken up for the first time yesterday and BJP president Amit Shah gave reaction on Sibal's statement", he said, adding that this in itself was indicative of what will happen if the hearing was taken up on a daily basis. It said it had not issued any instruction to Sibal to seek shifting of hearing till after the general elections.

Shah further hit out at the Congress Party for deferring the case when everyone wanted an early resolution of the issue. "Modi government's law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has himself said in Parliament and outside Parliament that the BJP will accept the Supreme Court order on the Ram temple construction", he said.

  • Jon Douglas