AHMEDABAD: With senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal urging the Supreme Court to defer hearing on the title dispute till the conclusion of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah has asked Rahul Gandhi to clear the Congress stand on the Ram temple issue in Ayodhya.
Accusing the Congress of maintaining double standards on the contentious ‘Ram Mandir’ row Shah said, “On the one hand, temples are being visited (by Rahul Gandhi) ahead of elections. On the other hand, they are trying to delay hearing of the Ramjanmabhoomi case (in the Supreme Court). The Congress has double standards on the issue. They should clarify their stand,” Shah said.
“I appeal to the future Congress President — please clear your stand on the issue,” he said.
“The Congress puts up (Congress leader and eminent lawyer) Sibal every time it wants to take a different stand — be it the 2G scam when Sibal came up with ‘zero loss’ theory or the reservation issue in Gujarat when he said reservation beyond 50 per cent is possible.”
“Kapil Sibal vehemently opposed building a Ram temple in Ayodhya. Sibal, who came prepared with a brief from his Muslim petitioners, was adamant on stopping the construction of the temple. When the apex court overruled his submission, he even tried to leave the court,” he said.
“I want to appeal to Rahul Gandhi to make clear the Congress’ stand on the Ram Janmabhoomi issue. I also want to ask the Congress if it is in agreement with Kapil Sibal’s views and whether his views are the official stand of the party,” Shah said.
He said the BJP and the entire country want the case to be heard and decided as early as possible.
Sibal, while arguing for the Sunni Waqf Board told the Supreme Court today that since the court’s decision in the case would have “very serious ramifications”, hearing be deferred till July 2019 by which time the general election would be over.
“Please fix the matter in July 2019 and we assure that we will not seek any adjournments… Justice should not only be done, it should seem to be done,” Sibal told the court.
The special bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra today also “prima facie” rejected the demand by a battery of lawyers including Sibal and Rajeev Dhavan that the appeals against the Allahabad High Court order be either referred to a five or seven-judge bench keeping in mind the sensitive nature of the case.
The Supreme Court, however, said it will commence hearing on February 8, 2018, on a batch of petitions which challenged a 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict on the Ayodhya title suit that divided the disputed Babri Masjid site between the Nirmohi Akhara, Lord Ram deity, and the Sunni Waqf Board.
The Allahabad High Court had in 2010 ordered a three-way division of the disputed land which has been challenged in the Supreme Court.