A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia made the observation while hearing a petition by the ‘committee of management trust Shahi Masjid Idgah’ challenging the HC order in May to refer to itself all the 16 suits pending before the civil court in Mathura on the dispute.
When the petitioner said the HC order deprived the parties of two appeals as the suit was being heard by a civil judge whose judgment could be challenged before the district judge and then HC, the SC said delay in deciding such a dispute was not in the interest of anyone and it would be better if the application of mind in such a dispute was done at the HC level.
“…Multiplicity of proceedings and prolongation are not in the interest of anybody. We have a history. It will be better for all stakeholders if multiplicity of proceedings in such sensitive cases is avoided,” the bench said.
As the bench was told that 16 suits were filed in the dispute, it directed the registrar general of Allahabad HC to furnish a list of those cases. It hinted that the court would lay down some framework on how to proceed so that the dispute could be decided early. “There appears to be a little generality to the direction issued. List after three weeks,” the bench said in its order.
Advocate Tasneem Ahmadi, appearing for the mosque committee, said the HC passed the order transferring all suits to itself on the ground of delay but the petition was filed only three years ago and there was no delay. She said the parties had compromised in 1968 and the suit was filed after 55 years which was not maintainable.
The SC said the petitioner could raise preliminary objection before the HC whether the suit was maintainable after so many years of compromise and emphasised that the HC would be the best forum to decide.