Sunni Waqf ghost haunts Sibal

| | New Delhi

Did Congress leader and lawyer Kapil Sibal represent Sunni Waqf Board in the Ayodhya title suit in the Supreme Court? BJP says yes, Sibal no.

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the Sunni board for distancing itself from Sibal's stand, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and BJP spokesman Gaurav Bhatia  tried to corner Sibal by producing the December 5 SC appearance slip in which Sibal's name figures on behalf of the Sunni board.

The slip signed by advocate Syed Shahid Hussain Rizvi has the name of Kapil Sibal written on top as the lawyer leading the Sunni Central Waqf Board in Civil Appeal 4192 of 2011 and 2894 of 2011. Following this uproar, Rizvi, the counsel for the Board, told media persons that Sibal did not represent the Board but agreed that he had signed on the appearance slip.  Rizvi pointed out that in the body of the order passed by the Court that day, Sibal was shown having appeared in two Civil Appeal s filed by Mohammad Siddiqui.

After this,  Sibal  launched  a scathing attack on the PM. Accusing Modi of  lying,  Sibal on Thursday produced Supreme Court order signed by the Chief Justice of India to back his claim.

In a Press conference, Sibal said, "...Before starting the proceedings, the CJI always asks the lawyer in which appeal are you represented and I responded accordingly. The CJI order says...senior counsel appearing for the appellants in civil appeal 2894 of 2011  and 7226 of 2011 contrary to the spirit of an earlier order filed a status report. So the CJI has written in its order that I am representing in these two appeals and no other. I was appearing for petitioner Mohammed Hashmi's son Iqbal Hashmi, which is clearly stated in the order by the CJI. So does the prime minister think that the CJI order is incorrect?..."

Taking to Twitter, Bhatia shared a series of documents showing Sibal's role as the lawyer for the Waqf board. Gaurav explained that appearance slip for case no 4192, the Ram Temple case, showed that Sibal has signed in the appearance list on behalf of Waqf Board.

Following Bhatia's sharing of documents on the social media, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad termed Sibal's comments on the PM "irresponsible and unfair". Prasad  too presented the appearance slip to  slam Sibal.  "As a lawyer, Kapil Sibal can argue any matter but he should not forget that he has been the law minister in the past. What these (documents) means and what does he mean when he says don't hear the matter till 2019, as it will have an impact outside," said Prasad.

Taking on the PM, Sibal said Modi  made comments without knowing the facts. "Our PM comments without knowing things sometimes. Amit Shah and Modi said I represented Sunni Waqf Board. I was never a Sunni Waqf Board lawyer," said Sibal.

The Congress leader also added that the Ram temple will be built when God wishes it. He said that the temple will not be build following PM's statements as the matter is still with the court.

Sibal asked the Prime Minister to address the concerns of India, and not to divide the people of the country. "You may win perhaps in your mind, but you will lose badly and India will lose if you only care about yourself and not India," said Sibal.

"Modi should be more concerned about priorities before the country rather than focusing on who represents whom in court. He should check facts before saying something in public," Sibal said claiming that he never represented the Sunni Waqf Board in the Ayodhya case as has been stated by PM, BJP chief Amit Shah and other leaders.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy asked Sibal to apologise to PM for being in a denial mode since the Supreme Court order listed him as an advocate for Sunni Waqf Board in Babri Masjid-Ram Mandir case. "Sibal in more trouble. I find that SC Order of 5/12 lists Sibal as Advocate for Sunni Waqf Board. Apologise to Namo, Sibal!", Swamy tweeted.



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