Affidavits filed by several Muslim residents of Ayodhya before the Faizabad magistrate after idols were placed inside the Babri Masjid spoke about a temple being demolished to make way for the mosque and a willingness to return the land to Hindus, the counsel for the temple side told the Supreme Court on Thursday.
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who appeared for Rajendra Singh one of the plaintiffs in the original civil suit in the Ayodhya land matter told a Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi that these affidavits had not been accepted as evidence by the Allahabad High Court as the authors of these documents were not examined.
Kumar told the bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde,
D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, that these affidavits, 14 in all, were filed in response to a notice issued by the Additional City Magistrate, Faizabad-cum-Ayodhya, Markendeya Singh while attaching the building after idols were placed inside it on December 23, 1949.
The notice, published in three newspapers, asked Hindu and Muslim residents of Ayodhya to appear before the City Magistrate on January 17, 1950, and put in written statements of their respective claims with regard to the fact of actual possession of the subject of the dispute .
An affidavit by one Abdul Ghani also said that only Friday prayers were allowed as per the orders of the king and later, the British.
Justice Bhushan sought to know if he could establish the veracity of the statements.
Kumar said the magistrate had verified their sanctity and identity of those who filed them. These affidavits speak of some facts. They (authors) were not cross examined. If they had said anything wrong, others would have objected, he submitted.
The notice was by publication. What is the inference to be drawn? They were all residents of Ayodhya… If you give notice, publish in three papers, these statements are verified, their identity is verified… Kumar continued.
That s all. But court can t say these statements are correct, the bench intervened.
The senior counsel said to discard them completely because they were not cross examined won t be proper .
If they (those who filed it) had been produced before the High Court, it would have been different, pointed out Justice Bobde.
Kumar said, My statements were before the magistrate. There would have been other Muslim parties and they would have objected. I m not asking to take it as gospel truth, but an inference can be drawn.
What I want to show is that the puja, darshan, worship was always going on and my right of worship continues as it was before… My right to worship is an unfettered right and it flows from centuries. It should be protected, the senior advocate added.