NEW DELHI: To the disappointment of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, the Supreme Court today refused to grant urgent hearing to the appeals pertaining to the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case, saying it was under the wrong impression that he was a party to it and not an intervenor.
Chief Justice J S Khehar, who on March 21 had suggested an out-of-court settlement to the dispute and even offered to mediate between the parties, today told Swamy that the bench came to know through press that he was not a party to the litigation and only an intervenor. "At the moment we don't have the time. We cannot hear you. We do not have the time right now," the bench, also comprising Justice D Y Chandrachud, said.
"You did not tell us that you were not a party to the case, we only got to know that from the press," it said when Swamy mentioned his interim plea for urgent listing. "I am an intervenor. I am not interested in the property. Let them take it. I only want that the matter be settled as quickly as possible. I want my faith to be protected," Swamy said, adding he had made it clear that he was on the issue of his fundamental right to worship.
"My faith has been affected by not being able to pray at the site. A temple should be there. My Right to Pray is affected by the pending case and I had filed an intervening application," he said. The bench made clear that it was not going to fast track the hearing, saying it did not have time. At this, Swamy said that he was not happy, prompting a retort by the bench, which said, "So don't be happy".
Mohd Hashim Ansari's son has also written a letter to the apex court that Swamy should not be given an urgent hearing as he had not informed the contesting parties about having filed an application for urgently hearing the matter. Ansari, who was one of the first litigants in the matter, had died last year. Earlier on March 21, the apex court had suggested an out-of-court settlement to the lingering Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid dispute in Ayodhya, observing that issues of "religion and sentiments" can be best resolved through talks.
The CJI had also offered to mediate even as the bench headed by him suggested that the parties to the dispute adopt a "give a bit and take a bit" approach for a meaningful and sincere negotiations to resolve the vexatious issue. The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court had in 2010 ruled a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acres area at the disputed site in Uttar Pradesh.
The three-judge bench, by a 2:1 majority, had said the land be partitioned equally among three parties, the Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and 'Ram Lalla'. On February 26 last year, the apex court had allowed Swamy to intervene in the pending matters relating to the title dispute. His plea sought construction of Ram temple at the site of the demolished disputed structure.
The BJP leader had moved the plea for a direction to allow construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya at the disputed site and claimed that under the practices prevalent in Islamic countries a mosque could be shifted to any other place for public purposes like constructing a road, whereas a temple once constructed cannot be touched. He had also sought directions to expedite the disposal of several petitions challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict of three-way division of the disputed site. The dispute before the court was whether the 2.7 acres of disputed land on which the Babri Masjid stood before it was demolished on December 6, 1992, belongs to the Sunni Central Waqf Board or to the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha.