The Shia Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh told the Supreme Court in August that it is agreeable to building a mosque in a Muslim-dominated area, at a reasonable distance from the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.
The Bench made it clear that no political arguments of any kind will be entertained during the case hearing as the dispute to be addressed is a "pure land dispute". With these directions, it is expected that the case will be ripe for hearing when it is taken up next at 2 pm on March 14.
The apex court clarified that it never meant to hear the case on a "day-to-day basis".
The bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Abdul Nazeer said that it will hear the case as a "pure land dispute". One of the parties to the dispute even hinted at the urgency given to the hearing of the case by the CJI and commented that the hearing of the case will not finish before October 2018, the time when the present CJI retires.
The hearing assumes significance in the wake of the rejection of the vehement submission by Sunni Waqf Board and others that the pleas be heard after the next general elections.
The special bench of the apex court is seized of a total 14 appeals filed against the High Court judgement delivered in four civil suits.
This was challenged before the Supreme Court which, on May 9, 2011, stayed operation of the decree during the pendency of the appeal, and ordered status quo at the disputed site.
The state had also translated and filed depositions of 87 witnesses apart from the report of the Archaeological Survey of India (which carried out an archaeological study of the disputed site) and relevant photographs, Mehta said.
The Bench further directed the Registry to supply copies of two video cassettes filed before the court to parties to the case on payment of its cost.
The top court was moved challenging the High Court verdict by petitioners M. Siddiqui represented by his legal heirs, Nirmohi Akhara, UP Sunni Central Waqf ABoard Bhagwan Shri Ram Virajman, All India Hindu Mahasabha's Swami Chakrapani, the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, the Akhil Bharatiya Sri Ramjanam Bhoomi Punardhar Samiti and others. "What happened on 6 December was shameful".
No less than three prior cases in the Ayodhya matter have been chosen by a bigger Bench of the Supreme Court when the suits for title were pending in the High Court.