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In the run-up to the court hearings in the Ayodhya dispute starting December 5, all parties in the case will now cross-check the English translation of the evidences, running into thousands of pages. In an order dated August 11, 2017, the Supreme Court had asked all respondents and appellants to translate their respective evidences into English within 12 weeks or by November 11. The historical evidence presented in court by the parties are in different languages – Urdu, Arabic, Hindi and Persian. Some 256 pieces of documentary evidence, running into thousands of pages, have been submitted by the parties in various suits that will be heard by the apex court from December 5. Among other things, the evidence consists of books, gazetteers, revenue records and pleadings and judgments in the first case filed way back in 1885. Senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, representing the Nirmohi Akhara (the Hindu side) in the case had told the court that he would be in a position to submit the English translation of his evidence by the first week of September.
Meanwhile, senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Rajiv Dhawan and others representing the Sunni Waqf Board (the Muslim side) had sought four months to translate their respective evidences. The court, in its August order, had granted them 12 weeks and made it clear that no adjournment would be granted in case the translated evidence was not submitted in time.The Supreme Court had also asked senior advocate Tushar Mehta and Uttar Pradesh Advocate General Raghavendra Singh to file English translations of all oral evidence by the first week of November. This translation of all witness statements and other oral evidence was to be handed over, in bound volumes, to the lawyers of all parties appearing in the case. A total of 86 witnesses had given oral evidence in court between 1996 and 2007. These witnesses were classified into three categories – witnesses of fact, historians and witnesses who deposed about the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report on the existence of an ancient Ram temple at the disputed site where the Babri mosque later stood. A lawyer associated with the case said all parties would cross-check one another’s translations to ensure there was no element of misrepresentation while presenting them in the Supreme Court.