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, the temple side in the Ramjanmabhumi-Babri Masjid dispute told Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Senior advocate K Parasaran, appearing for Mahant Suresh Das, one of the defendants in the suit filed by UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, told a five-judge Constitution bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi that 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.
The top court, meanwhile, hinted that hearing in the case, which began on August 6, may conclude on Wednesday.
Parasaran drew the court’s attention to the 1885 court decision, which came on a suit filed by one Mahant Raghubar Das.
Raghubar had filed the suit against Secretary of State for India in Council and Syed Asghar, Mutwalli of Babri Mosque, and sought permission to construct a temple over the Ram Chabutra, located on outer courtyard of the disputed area.
Trial sub-judge, Faizabad, dismissed this on December 24, 1885. An appeal against this was dismissed by District Judge, Faizabad, F E A Chamier; the second appeal against it was also dismissed by the Judicial Commissioner of Oudh W Young.
Parasaran pointed out that Chamier in his judgment said, “it is most unfortunate that a masjid should have been built on land specially held sacred by Hindus, but as that event occurred 356 years ago it is too late now to remedy the grievance. All that can be done is to maintain the parties in status quo.”
Appearing for UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan had said that the decision in the matter had concluded that a mosque existed at the site and hence the Hindu side was precluded by the rule of res judicata from raising it again.
Res judicata means the issue before the court has already been decided by another court between the same parties.
Opposing Dhavan’s submission, Parasaran said, “They (Muslims) have ignored the main finding that a mosque was built at the place considered holy by Hindus…. Decision was in favour of Hindus. He (district judge) only refused to exercise discretion because so many years had passed…the burden was upon them (Muslims) to prove that the finding was wrong.”
He said, “The Muslim parties chose not to file an appeal against the finding, which has attained finality. In any event, irrespective of the conduct of Muslim parties, the finding of the District Judge has attained finality. Therefore, the burden of proof does not lie on the Hindu parties to show that they held the disputed property to be sacred. It is the duty of Muslim parties to displace the said finding…”
Parasaran also said Hindus are “fighting for centuries for the place believed to be the birthplace of Ram…. For Hindus, it’s (Ram’s) birthplace. For Muslims, it’s historic mosque.”
Stating that there are 55-60 mosques in Ayodhya, he said, “All mosques are equal for Muslims…. (But) we can’t change the birthplace.”