Sibal represents Sunni Waqf Board in SC, BJP sees Cong bid to delay hearing

Sibal represents Sunni Waqf Board in SC, BJP sees Cong bid to delay hearing

Congress and BJP leaders virtually clashed on Tuesday on whether the Supreme Court should defer hearing the Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute until after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.  

As the apex court heard arguments of former Union minister Kapil Sibal for not holding hearings in the Ayodhya case until the 2019 Lok Sabha polls are over, the BJP wanted  the Congress to clarify its stand on the issue.

Hours after the  apex court deferred the hearing to February 8, 2018, BJP chief Amit Shah accused Congress of delaying the matter and sought party presidential nominee Rahul Gandhi's stand in the case.

Addressing a press conference, Shah doubted the appearance of Sibal as lawyer for the Sunni Waqf Board. "A surprising stand was taken in the Supreme Court by Congress leader and Sunni Waqf Board lawyer Kapil Sibal. He said the hearing should be deferred till the completion of 2019 polls. The Congress should clarify its stand."

Shah said, "Rahul is visiting temples in Gujarat but Kapil Sibal is being used to delay the Ram janmabhoomi case. Rahul should tell us what is his view."

As other Congress leaders said Sibal was appearing for the Sunni Waqf Board in his personal capacity, BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said, "By seeking deferment of the Ayodhya case until after the 2019 LS polls, Kapil Sibal has politicised the legal dispute. The Congress must clarify if Sibal is representing it or the Sunni Waqf Board? Or,  are the board and the Congress   working in tandem?"

"Rather than seeking an early resolution to this vexed legal issue, why is the Congress party trying to perpetuate uncertainty," Rao questioned.

This is not the first time Sibal has represented a Muslim body. He was also the lead counsel for the All India Muslim Personal Law Board in the Triple Talaq case in the apex court.

Clash of titans  

Sibal and other senior advocates -- Dushyant Dave and Rajeev Dhawan -- argued that the dispute was not just any civil suit but probably the most important case in the history of India and would "decide the future of polity."

 

The apex court, however, rejected Sibal's submission.
What prompted the BJP to react was Sibal telling the apex court that the government was "using the judiciary" to realise its agenda of building a Ram temple as promised in its 2014 election manifesto. "A hearing now fits the Sangh Parivar assurances to realise their promise of a temple through legal means," he said.

 

Senior advocate Harish Salve, who appeared for Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas, countered Sibal. He said the court need not be bothered by any repercussions outside. "As far as the court is concerned, the Ayodhya title dispute is just a case like any other before it," Salve said.  

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