Ayodhya hearing: Counsel for Ramlalla seeks both disputed, acquired land for temple

Ananthakrishnan G
Underlining that both the disputed site and the acquired area were important to Hindus and urging the court not to grant any relief that would unsettle the plan. (Express file photo)

Besides staking claim over the entire disputed land in Ayodhya, deity Ramlalla Virajman, one of the parties in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, on Saturday told the Supreme Court that the adjacent land, which was acquired by the Centre in 1993, would also be needed for the “convenience of devotees” when a “grand” Ram temple is built at the disputed site.

In 1993, the Centre had acquired 67.703 acres in and around the demolished Babri Masjid under the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act, 1993.

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Underlining that both the disputed site and the acquired area were important to Hindus and urging the court not to grant any relief that would unsettle the plan, the deity’s counsel, Senior Advocates K Parasaran and C S Vaidyanathan and Advocate P V Yogeswaran, in their written submissions filed in the court, said that “the small area which is the subject matter of the suit is one integral unit and is indivisible. The convenience of worshippers and devotees necessitates the entire disputed area to offer worship at Ram Janmasthan and the acquired area”.

“...there are no good ground for moulding the relief in any manner which will impact the entire acquired area including the disputed area being utilised in accordance with the wishes of the Hindus, if they succeed in these proceedings”, the counsel said.

The written submission said that “the basis of suit 5 (filed by Ramlalla) is to build a grand temple of Lord Ram commensurate with His stature” and that “in case equity is exercised in any manner, then it would impinge the sacredness of the place, which, besides the disputed site, is also filled with numerous holy sites, as well as detract from the ability to construct a grand temple including all associated and sacred sites which are integral to the shrine”.

The counsel also pointed out that the government, with which the acquired land is currently vested, had already stated in court that its “action will be in support of the party which succeeds in the proceedings”.

The written submission added that “having built a structure over the sacred and revered Ramjanmasthan, and claiming it was a vacant land, having questioned the very existence of a structure (a temple) beneath the disputed structure, and having been proved erroneous on all such submissions, the Muslim parties are not entitled to any equitable relief, more so when the structure is no longer existent”.

During the hearing on the appeals against the September 30, 2010, verdict of the Allahabad High Court, which had ordered a three-way division of the disputed area among Ramlalla Virajman, Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara, the Board had asserted that it had the right to have the Babri Masjid re-constructured at the site as it stood on December 5, 1996.

Opposing this, the deity said “to pray for reconstructing the mosque at the disputed site is inequitable and unjust. It is contrary to Hindu dharma, Islamic law and all principles of Justice, Equity and good conscience”.

The submission said that the HC judgment had stated the significance of the disputed site for Hindus. Although it was contended then that the mosque was of significance for Muslims as an ancient mosque built by Mir Baqi in 1528 AD, it said the Waqf Board counsel “has now... clarified that it was not of importance in the 16th century or even thereafter but became important only when disputes arose in the 20th century.”

“In fact, it was stated that the dispute now is of `VANITY’,” the deity added.

Reiterating the importance of the Ram Janmasthan for Hindus, it said their faith and belief that there was a temple of antiquity which was improved upon from time to time and which existed till the sixteenth century “is supported by archeological evidence”.

The janmasthan was divine and was a deity on its own even without an idol, it said, adding that “Ayodhya is one of the places of ‘Pilgrimage’ for Hindus. It is the very life of Hindus for which at the appropriate time they derive attainment of ‘Moksha’ (salvation)... The right to life they humbly pray is not to be deprived of”.

The deity’s counsel also said that the Nirmohi Akhara has “disentitled themselves from any relief” by setting up a claim adverse to the deity, by questioning the very status of the Ram Janmasthan and by disputing the maintainability of the suit filed by Ramlalla and the locus standi of the plaintiffs therein.

The Akhara and the Wakf Board also filed their written submissions Saturday.

Seeking possession of the disputed area, the Akhara said it had ‘Shebait’ rights there since the 18th Century. A shebait under Hindu law is entrusted with the task of maintaining and preserving an idol and its property.

In case the SC upholds the HC view giving joint ownership of the place, the Akhara wants the court to give it the inner courtyard and also a direction to the Wakf Board to give its share of the land on long-term lease to it for construction of temple. In return, the Waqf Board could be given land in the acquired premises or somewhere else in Ayodhya, it said.

Other Hindu parties like Gopal Singh Visharad, Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim parties like the Shia Waqf Board have also submitted their stance to the court.

The SC, while reserving its verdict on the appeals against the HC order on October 15, had given the parties three days to file their written submissions in the matter.