Ayodhya case highlights: SC gives parties 3 days to file submissions on moulding of relief

Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment on Ram temple dispute. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order in the 134-year-old Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute as the hearing concluded after a marathon 40 days. The SC asked contesting parties to file written submissions on the moulding of relief or narrowing down the issues on which the court is required to adjudicate
within three days.

The last day of the hearing, however, witnessed courtroom drama after advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing the Muslim Waqf Board, tore up a map illustrating the place of birth of Lord Ram, leading to a commotion.

The development came after the five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said it was hearing the Ayodhya land dispute case for the last 39 days and no more time would be granted to parties to conclude the hearing in the case. Follow LIVE Updates

Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment that ordered the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya to be partitioned equally among three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

Here are the top developments on the final day of Ayodhya hearing:

1) Lawyer representing Muslim parties tears map in Ayodhya hearing

Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing the Muslim parties, tore a map illustrating the place of birth of Lord Ram given to him by All India Hindu Maha Sabha advocate Vikas Singh. Beginning his submissions, Singh said he wished to present a book "Ayodhya Revisited" by Kunal Kishore. However, Dhavan took strong objection to placing on record contents from the book and tore the pages handed to him to lodge his opposition.

"You can shred it further," CJI told Dhavan. "Decorum has been spoiled, decorum is not maintained. If proceedings continue in this manner, we would just get up and walk out," CJI Ranjan Gogoi further said.

Speaking on the issue, Dhavan said, "The incident is going viral. But the fact is that I wanted to throw the pages away and the CJI said I may tear them. And I tore them, so I'd say it was with the permission of the court." CJI Gogoi agreed with Dhavan and clarified that he indeed had allowed the latter to tear the pages.

2) Demolished building belonged to us: Muslim side

Concluding his arguments, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan said the Muslim side sought restoration of the Babri Masjid as it stood on December 5, 1992. "The demolished building belonged to us. The right to reconstruct it also belongs to us. Nobody else has the right."

"India was not one political entity. There were many conquests by rulers even inside India, many by Hindu rulers Were they any different because the conquerors were Hindus?" he further argued.

3) Nirvani Akhara claims rights of Shebait in Janmabhumi temple

Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta for Nirvani Akhara claimed the rights of the Shebait in Janmabhumi temple. He said late Mahant Abhiram Das was the priest of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. "It has been held that an idol is a juridical person, worshippers are beneficiary. Baba Abhiram Das was found to be the Shebait of the deity. Late Baba Abhiram Das had an independent position as the priest and this position has been accepted by others also," Jaideep Gupta told the court.

4) Ayodhya only place we call Ram Janmasthan: Lawyer for Hindu side

Senior Advocate C S Vaidyanathan, representing the Hindu side, said there was no evidence that Muslims offered prayers at the disputed site after 1934. "There is some evidence that the Muslim side offered Friday prayers at the disputed site from 1857 till 1934. No evidence that they offered any prayer after that. But the Hindu side continued to offer prayers on the site. They say we tried to dispossess them. Why would we if we did not believe in the janmasthan? The submission only reinforces our claim," Vaidyanathan said.

Summing up his arguments, Vaidyanathan said, "This is the place we have believed for centuries as Ram Janmasthan. We cannot call any place in Delhi as Ram Janmasthan. They (Muslims) may have several other places of worship. We have only this one."

5) 'Sunni Waqf Board failed to prove Babur built mosque at Ayodhya site'

Sunni Waqf Board and other Muslim litigants have failed to prove that Mughal emperor Babur constructed the mosque at the disputed Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya, senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, appearing for the Hindu party, said. He was responding to the 1961 lawsuit filed by Sunni Waqf Board and other Muslim individuals seeking title claim over the entire 2.77 acre disputed land at Ayodhya.

Vaidyanathan further said that if the Muslim side claimed title over the disputed land under the doctrine of adverse possession then they would have to accept that the deity or the temple was the previous real owner.

"They cannot claim the benefit of adverse possession. If they claim so then they will have to show the ouster of the prior owner that is temple or the deity in this case," Vaidyanathan told the bench.

6) 'Character of disputed site can't be decided on basis of faith of Muslims'

Another senior lawyer Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Hind devotee Gopal Singh Visharad, said that Muslims have failed to prove their case and the lawsuit filed by the Sunni Waqf Board and others ought to be dismissed as Visharad and other Hindu devotee have "pre-existing rights to worship" at the site. The character of the disputed site cannot be decided on the basis of the faith of the Muslims, he said.

7) Destroying temple historic wrong, need reparations: Hindu defendant

On Tuesday, the temple side in the Ramjanmabhumi-Babri Masjid dispute had told the top court that a district court in Faizabad had concluded in 1886 that a mosque was built on land considered holy by Hindus in Ayodhya and it is for the Muslim parties to show that this finding was wrong.

Senior advocate K Parasaran, appearing for Mahant Suresh Das, one of the defendants in the suit filed by UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, said Mughal emperor Babur’s invasion of India and the alleged consequent destruction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, was a “historic wrong” for which “reparations” are necessary.

8) ‘Questions asked only to us, not to Hindu side’: Muslim parties

The Muslim parties had alleged that the CJI-led bench posed questions only to them and not to the Hindu side. “Your Lordship didn’t ask a question to the other side. All the questions have been asked to us only. Of course, we are answering them,” senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who represents the All India Sunni Waqf Board, told the bench. The submission was vehemently opposed by senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, representing deity ‘Ram Lalla’, who said: “This is totally unwarranted”.

9) News Broadcasting Standards Authority issues advisory

Meanwhile, the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) has issued advisory on Ayodhya hearing coverage. It has asked not to speculate court proceedings, ascertain facts of hearing, not to use mosque demolition footage, not to broadcast any celebrations and to ensure no extreme views are aired in debates.