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Sibal on a sticky wicket over appearing for Waqf Board

By: timesofindia.indiatimes.com 6 months ago
Sibal on a sticky wicket over appearing for Waqf Board

A list showing which lawyer appeared for which side, part of the very same December 5 order sheet, showed that Sibal appeared for UP Sunni Waqf Board, whose civil appeal has been numbered ‘4192’ of 2011.

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NEW DELHI: Senior advocate and Congress leader Kapil Sibal found himself on a sticky wicket in the controversy over whether he was representing the the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board when he urged the Supreme Court on Tuesday to adjourn the legal battle over ownership of the 2.77 acre disputed Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi land in Ayodhya till after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

While Sibal's denial that he appeared for the Waqf Board was supported by a reference in the order of the SC bench on December 5, which showed that he appeared for two private persons from the minority community, the claim was denied by other facts concerning the crucial hearing in the sensitive Ayodhya case. A list showing which lawyer appeared for which side, part of the very same December 5 order sheet, showed that the prominent lawyer appeared for UP Sunni Waqf Board, whose civil appeal has been numbered '4192' of 2011.

On Thursday, Sibal cited the December 5 order which showed him appearing for two private persons, discounting the list of advocates in the order sheet that showed him appearing for the Waqf Board. The list of lawyers is prepared on the basis of appearance slip prepared by the advocates on record who alone, as part of established practice in the SC, are eligible to file a petition or appeal in the SC and are required to be present along with the senior advocate or advocate arguing the case.

In this case, advocate Syed Shahid Hussain Rizvi, who is the AoR for UP Sunni Waqf Board, had signed an appearance slip clearly mentioning that Sibal appeared for the board on Thursday. Rizvi did not deny filing the appearance slip but argued that one should go by the order of the court which said Sibal appeared for two private persons.

The issue of whom Sibal represented when he made a pitch for putting off the hearing in the Ayodhya case till July 2019 took on a political dimension when some members of the Wafq Board alleged that the senior lawyer, a Congress leader and a former member of the Union Cabinet, acted on his own in linking the case to LS polls.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP seized upon it to say that the former minister made the plea for indefinite postponement as part of a Congress gameplan to thwart resolution of the Ram temple versus Babri Masjid dispute.
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