The parties arguing for a mosque at the disputed Ayodhya site have urged the Supreme Court to bear in mind that its judgment in the case would have far-reaching implications, and urged it to “mould” the relief in such a manner that it reflects “constitutional values”.
“Since the judgment of this Court will have far-reaching implications, it is for the Court to consider the consequences of its historic judgment by moulding the relief in a fashion that will reflect the constitutional values that this great nation espouses... we hope that the Court, in moulding the relief, upholds our multi-religious and multicultural values in resolving the issues confronting it,” the seven mosque parties said Sunday in a joint, one-page statement on the question of ‘moulding’ of the relief.
The statement came a day after several parties supporting a temple at the site objected to the mosque side filing written submissions on the question of relief to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover.
The five-judge apex court Bench, which wrapped up hearing in the Ayodhya case on October 16, had given the parties three days to file their written submissions in the matter. Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhawan and attested by other lawyers representing them, the mosque parties said, “The decision by this Hon’ble Court, whichever way it goes, will impact future generations. It will also have consequences for the polity of this country. This Court’s decision may impact the minds of millions who are citizens of this country and who believe in constitutional values embraced by all when India was declared a republic on January 26, 1950... Moulding the relief is the responsibility of this Court, which itself is the sentinel of our Constitution... This Court must also consider how future generations will view this verdict.”
The seven parties supporting a mosque which are party to this submission include the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board, whose chairman Zufar Farooqui recently said that he agreed to a ‘settlement’ proposed by the mediation committee on Ayodhya. However, most of the other parties, both on the temple and the mosque side, rejected the proposal.
In its submission, the Nirmohi Akhara, which is one of the main parties to the dispute, has projected six possible scenarios and outlined its opinion on each. It argues that it is the lead claimant for building the temple, if allowed, as it holds the ‘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.
The representative for another original appellant, Gopal Singh Visharad, has sought the entire disputed 2.77 acres for the temple. Visharad, now deceased, is survived by Rajendra Singh. In its submission to the Court, the counsel representing Visharad has said, “Shri Ram Janmabhumi is non-negotiable. That the extent of the suit property is 1480 sq yds (inner and outer courtyard). The Plaintiff and his successor and other Hindus have always performed Puja and worship of the Deity as situate in the Janamasthan, since time immemorial, as the birthplace of Shri Ram as per their faith and belief.”
The counsel goes on to argue that as the Muslim side took 12 years to file a suit asking for rights, they were free to worship elsewhere. “It (is) not essential for the Muslims to perform Namaz at the disputed site and they (are) accustomed to (performing) Namaz elsewhere.” Visharad also states that “only” the “Mutawalli (the trustee of a wakf)” can come forward to stake claim on behalf of the mosque, and as he has not done so, claims of the Sunni Central Waqf Board and other Muslims plaintiffs or defendants are not legitimate. “In the light of the admission of the sacredness of the place, it will be unjust to expect Hindus to share the place with others. It will be in the best interest of everybody if Hindus are permitted to retain the most sacred place to themselves instead of leaving the matter to hope and trust that sharing will be in the best interest of all,” the counsel has said.
In its written submission, handed over on Saturday, the counsel for Ramlalla Virajman, the deity of Ayodhya, staked claim to not just the disputed site but also the adjacent land acquired by the Centre in 1993. It said the 67.703 acres would be needed for the convenience of devotees when a grand Ram temple was built on the disputed 2.77 acres.
They also submitted that the other major party arguing for a temple — the Nirmohi Akhara — had “disentitled themselves from any relief” by setting up a claim “adverse to the deity”, by “questioning the very status of Ram Janmasthan” and by disputing the maintainability of the suit filed by Ramlalla.
In case the Supreme Court decides to uphold the Allahabad High Court order of September 2010, dividing the disputed site three ways equally — between Ramlalla Virajman, Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara — the Nirmohi Akhara has asked the Court to give it the inner courtyard and direct the Wakf Board to give its share of the land on a long-term lease to it for construction of a temple. In return, it has argued, the Waqf Board could be given land on the 67.703 acres of acquired premises or somewhere else in Ayodhya, and asked the Court to set up a committee to oversee construction of both the temple and the mosque in that case. It has also asked the Court to devise a scheme for management of the temple, to enable the handling of “secular” matters regarding temple-building, without “interference in the performance of religious functions”.
In case of a trust being formed to oversee affairs, the Akhara strongly posits its rights to ensuring that the ‘Ramanandi Sampradaya’ character of the temple is maintained (the Sampradaya emphasises worship of Ram), all “religious functions, rights ceremonies and rituals” are conducted by it, and that it has a decisive say as well as “a majority of representatives” along with any State authorities in any such organisation.
If all the suits are dismissed, the Nirmohi Akhara has said, the Magistrate must reopen “all the 145 proceedings (including old title suits)” and “finally decide the same”.
Other parties on the side of the temple like the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha and mosque parties like the Shia Waqf Board have also given their written submissions to the Court.