It is good that SC rejected the request to defer hearing of the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case
Pendency in Indian courts has its own infamy, but that owes more to problems of inadequate infrastructure and personnel, and to some extent, the government being a prolific litigant. Against this, you would assume parties in a case would want their cases to quickly come to conclusion. In the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case, too, the parties want a quick resolution. Only, former Union minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal who is also the lawyer representing the Sunni Waqf Board, one of the parties to the case, in the Supreme Court requested that the apex court push the hearing till July 2019—that is, till after the next general elections. Not only was the demand outrageous and needlessly politicised the trial, what’s worse, there are reports that the Sunni Waqf Board has said it favours an early hearing and resolution, and had not authorised Sibal to plead for a deferral—if this is true, would this not amount to a breach of the client’s trust? Even if one were to prioritise political guile over one’s responsibility as a legal representative, calling for the deferral makes little sense. Whichever way the verdict eventually goes, it would mean closure for the parties concerned, and more importantly, the issue will no longer be available as a polarising matter for parties of all political hues to keep milking for votes. The quicker India buries the mandir-masjid debate, the sooner it can train its focus on issues of greater importance—how to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, or how to redeem Paris commitments and also offset the impact climate-rogue nations are going to have on the planet, etc. Given what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, had the request been accepted, it would have set a precedent for matters of policy, judicial decisions, etc, being held to ransom by the election cycle, with all the attendant consequences of such delays. The Supreme Court has therefore done well to reject the demand.
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