The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Thursday came down heavily on the adjournment of the Ayodhya title suit matter to January 29 describing it as "too long," saying its apprehensions that the opposite party would raise frivolous issues to secure an adjournment have come true.
In a statement, VHP working President Alok Kumar said, "The hearing in Ram Janmabhoomi appeals has been adjourned, yet again. Our apprehensions that the opposite party shall raise frivolous issues to secure an adjournment have come true.
"The objection that a judicial order should have been passed for the constitution of a five-judge bench is apparently frivolous. For it is settled that the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi is the master of roster. He alone decides the strength of a bench and the judges to sit in it," he said.
The VHP leader's remarks came after the Supreme Court deferred the Ayodhya title suit matter to January 29, saying the five-judge bench to hear the case will be reconstituted as Justice U.U. Lalit has recused himself.
The apex court took the decision after senior counsel Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for one of the Muslim parties, told the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that Justice Lalit in 1997 appeared for former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh in one of the matters related to the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute.
The VHP leader also said the other objection on Justice Lalit being on the bench is "painful".
"Justice Lalit has never appeared in the Ram Janmabhoomi matters -- neither at the trial stage nor in the appeal. His being counsel of Kalyan Singh in 1997 in the contempt matter casts no shadow on his hearing the present appeals," he said.
THe VHP leader said the objections were merely ploys to delay the case further and urged the Chief Justice to prevent the delaying tactics of the opposite party.
"Under the circumstances, an adjournment from January 10 to January 29 is rather long. Hindus are known for their patience and forbearance. The judicial system still has the responsibility of deciding the matters without undue delays.
"The country hopes that the Chief Justice, heading the present Bench, shall decisively act to prevent the delaying tactics of the opposite party," Kumar said.
The VHP leader also criticised the Muslim litigants for objecting to the absence of any Muslim judge and said it was disturbing.
"We have seen the objections by two members of Muslim Personal Law Board about the absence of any Muslim judge on the bench. It is disturbing," he said, adding it would be a very sad day when the judges would be assigned to hear matters on the basis of their religion."
"In this case, the bench had been constituted with rational criteria i.e. the judges who would become Chief Justice of Supreme Court during their tenure. The attempt of forum shopping is to be condemned," he added.
The demand for construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya gained momentum late last year when the BJP's ideological mentors, the RSS and VHP, demanded the government bring a law for the temple construction.