The Supreme Court on Thursday said that it would treat the politically sensitive Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute as a "pure land dispute", an indication that the centuries-old history attached to the case was of no significance to it.
The three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer adjourned the hearing in the case as some documents and translations have not been filed yet.
The bench said that it would hear the appeals on March 14 and clarified that it never intended to hear the case on a "day-to-day basis".
The top court said the excerpts of vernacular books, which have been relied upon in the case, be translated in English and be filed within two weeks from now.
The apex court also directed its Registry to provide copies of video cassettes, which were part of high court records, to parties on actual cost.
Court also said it would not entertain any intervening application in the matter for now and applications from those who were not a party to the matter before the Allahabad High Court would be dealt at a later date.
Thursday's hearing assumes significance as a special bench headed by Misra had rejected the submission by Sunni Waqf Board and others that the pleas be heard after the 2019 general elections.
The bench had on 5 December, 2017, directed the listing of the matter on 8 February after senior lawyers Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan and Dushyant Dave, appearing for some of the petitioners, had pressed for postponing of the hearing, saying it would have repercussions on the country's polity.
They had also sought a hearing by a five-judge Constitution Bench.
Sibal, who had appeared for Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, had told the three-judge bench that it "should not hear the matter, which has repercussions on the polity of the country" until after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
He had urged the court to have the hearing in July 2019, apparently suggesting that the outcome of the hearing by the top court would have a bearing on 2019 general elections.
However, senior counsel Harish Salve, who appeared for the other side, had said that as far as the court was concerned, it was "just a case" and the repercussion of the outcome of the case was none of its outlook.
He had said that "it is being presumed which way the verdict will go".
The Hindu parties and sects involved in the dispute believe Lord Ram was born on this land. Kar sevaks razed the 15th century Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. In September 2010, a three-judge Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court attempted to bring quietus by pronouncing a three-way partition of the disputed site. But this judgment had only led to appeals and cross appeals filed by parties in the Supreme Court.