It was the fortieth day of the hearing of the sensitive Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case in the Supreme Court. All eyes were meant to be on the lawyers and the bench. Instead, there was a flutter created in the media as a rumour went around that the Sunni Waqf Board, one of the parties in the case, had withdrawn from it. This created a confusion that the case would fall as this would mean that the Sunni Waqf Board was not staking claim on the disputed land.
But it seemed to have been a bluff by the Hindu parties to try and influence the case. Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who is appearing for the Sunni Waqf Board, stated that neither he nor the other lawyers representing it were informed about any submission to withdraw. “We have just argued the case. And that is the stand of the Sunni Waqf Board. Even Ejaz Mohammed, the advocate on record for the Sunni Waqf Board, has no idea about the submission to withdraw. That is all we can say,” underscored Dhavan.
Dhavan added that further questions could be posed to Sriram Panchu, who was a part of the mediation group set up by the Supreme Court earlier. However, Panchu did not appear in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the final day of hearing.
It was stated earlier that when he had come to court two days ago, he had submitted that the UP Sunni Waqf Board Chairman Zafar Ahmed Farooqui needed to be given extra police protection. Then the clarification came that Farooqui had submitted this in his personal capacity after being arm-twisted by the Uttar Pradesh government.
However, the Sunni Waqf Board lawyers clarified that they have no such information.
A five-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, along with SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer concluded hearings in the land dispute case on Wednesday.