New Delhi: Senior advocate Harish Salve, counsel for Ram Lalla, argued before the Supreme Court on Friday for the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute to be decided as a “land dispute alone".

The Sunni Waqf Board, however, has said that the matter should be referred to a constitution bench.

Salve opposed this, saying, “Religious sensitivities and politics should be left outside the doors of this court. We are well past 6 December 1992 (the day of the demolition of Babri Masjid). All that remains is a title dispute over property, which this present three-judge bench should decide as a title suit."

The dispute is being heard by a three-judge bench of chief justice Dipak Misra and justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer.

On 7 February, the court had said that the matter would be heard as a “pure land dispute".

The top court is hearing a total of 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgment of the Allahabad high court in four civil suits. These challenge the verdict by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court, which had ruled in favour of partitioning the land equally among three parties—the Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and ‘Ram Lalla’ (infant Lord Ram), represented by the Hindu Mahasabha.

A civil suit for deciding the title of the property on which the Babri Masjid stood had been filed before the high court.

The apex court stayed the decision in 2011.

The Shia Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh told the Supreme Court in August that it is amenable to building a mosque in a Muslim-dominated area at a reasonable distance from the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site.

The case will be heard next on 15 May.

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