The bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, has been critical of Jain's persistent stand that the suit of the deity is not maintainable as 'Akhara' alone has the right as 'shebait' to institute the lawsuit on behalf of deity.
Hindu body ‘Nirmohi Akahara’ told the Supreme Court Tuesday that it was not opposing the lawsuit of deity ‘Ram Lalla’ for the title of disputed Ramjanam Bhoomi-Babri Masjid land at Ayodhya. ‘Akahara’ apprised a 5-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, of its stand following a direction whether it opposes the plea of the deity in view of the fact that its right as ‘shebait’ (devotee) over the property can only stand if the lawsuit of ‘Ram Lalla Virajman’ is allowed. “In response to what had fallen from your Lordships yesterday, the stand of ‘Nirmohi Akahara’ is that it will not press the issue of maintainability of suit number 5 (filed by the deity through its next friend Deoki Nandan Agrawal) provided that they (lawyers of deity) also do not dispute ‘shebait’ right of ‘Akahara’,” senior advocate Sushil Jain, appearing for the Hindu body, told the bench.
The bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, has been critical of Jain’s persistent stand that the suit of the deity is not maintainable as ‘Akhara’ alone has the right as ‘shebait’ to institute the lawsuit on behalf of deity. “You (Akhara) stand together and you will fall together…You cannot be the ‘shebait’ of mosque,” the bench had quipped and had directed it to clear its stand. Advancing submissions on the 13th day of the decades-old sensitive case, Jain said no Muslims entered the disputed building since 1934 to offer regular ‘namaz’ and the place has been a temple under possession of ‘Akhara’. “Mr Jain you have read all this yesterday. Please add to what you have already read, don’t repeat,” the bench said.
Jain said the plea of Muslim side that a contractor was asked to repair the disputed structure following communal riot in 1934 cannot be believed in view of the fact that revenue records showed possession of ‘Akahara’.
The senior lawyer then said that the lawsuits of Muslim parties in the case have been “hopelessly time-barred” as they did not approach the court for remedies within time after the cause of action arose. The first cause of action arose in 1855 following a riot after which Muslims took possession of the site and later, Hindus took back after a brief period, he said.
Then in 1934, Muslims were barred from offering ‘namaz’ following riots and even after passing of 12 years, they did not file the lawsuit, he said. ‘Sunni Wakf Board’ filed the case in 1961 which was dismissed being “time-barred”, Jain said while concluding his submissions. Senior advocate P N Mishra, appearing for ‘Akhil Bhartiya Sri Ram Janam Bhoomi Punarudhar Samiti’, which is one of the defendants in a lawsuit filed by a Muslim party, commenced his arguments relying on religious texts from ‘Skand Puran’ and ‘Ayodhya Mahatamya’, ‘Babarnama’, reports and scriptures.
He took the stand that Babar never visited Ayodhya and he did not construct any mosque and moreover, there was no person of the name of Mir Baki, the alleged commander of the Mughal emperor and the maker of the mosque. “Our case is little different. We have submitted before the High Court that Babar did not construct the mosque, there was no person like Mir Baqi… Our case is that since time immemorial we have been worshipping there,” Mishra said.
“We have got two points. First, it (disputed structure) was not constructed by Babar and second, the three dome structure cannot be called a mosque as it lacked the characteristics of a mosque,” Mishra said. At the outset, Mishra, referring to ‘Skand Puran’ and other religious texts including ‘Valmiki Ramayana’, said that there was a ‘janmsthan’ temple of Lord Ram. The bench then questioned the reference of religious texts saying that they may be beneficial to establish faith and belief and asked as to how they will help in establishing existence of the temple.
Pre-litigation scriptures and research work should be considered in deciding the case, Mishra said and referred to a book written by one Hans Baker. He also referred to a map to show the birth place of Lord Ram in Ayodhya. Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Muslim parties, raised the issue of alleged discrepancies in the map. Mishra said the book, containing the map, was part of the records.
When the ASI excavated the site, they found seven row of pillars and there were a total of 85 pillars as per Hindu traditions, Mishra said. “I have proved in HC that the stone inscriptions were forged,” he said, adding that two inscriptions had different time of construction of the mosque. While some Muslims say that Babar constructed the mosque, others said it was Aurangzeb who created mosques at five Hindu religious places such as Kashi, Mathura and Ayodhya. The bench asked Mishra as to who created the ‘Wakf’ of the disputed site.
“As per them, it was Babar. For a property to become ‘Waqf’, first thing is that ‘Waqif’ must be the owner because if land is not owned at the time of making the ‘waqf’ then it would be against the religious tenets of Islam,” he said. “Our case is that idols have been there since time immemorial,” he said.
The hearing would commence on Wednesday. The Allahabad High Court, in its judgment of 2010 on four civil lawsuits, had partitioned the 2.77-acre disputed land equally among the three parties — Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. Fourteen appeals have been filed in the Supreme Court against the verdict.