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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Ayodhya hearing: Key arguments and Supreme Court’s observations

As the five-judge Constitution Bench concludes the 40-day hearings on appeals, The Indian Express summarises the key arguments

Written by Ananthakrishnan G | New Delhi | Updated: October 17, 2019 10:33:22 am
supreme court, supreme court ayodhya, ayodhya supreme court, supreme court verdict, ayodhya verdict, ayodhya supreme court verdict, ayodhya news The bench: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S A Bobde, Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice S A Nazeer. (Illustration: Suvajit Dey)

As the five-judge Constitution Bench concludes the 40-day hearings on appeals, The Indian Express summarises the key arguments and SC’s observations in the Ayodhya title suit case

Ramlalla Virajman

* Material unearthed by ASI points to presence of a “massive structure with features distinctive of a temple” beneath the ground on which the Babri Masjid stood. A significant discovery is a “pranala” — a discharge outlet attached to the sanctum sanctorum in Hindu temples — on the northern wall of the structure.

* ASI report establishes that Babri Masjid was not built on vacant or agricultural land, but on land on which a “massive structure”, dating back to at least 2nd Century BC, stood.

* History books establish there was a temple. It is the unshakeable faith of believers that this is the birthplace of Ram. That itself is the greatest evidence.

Read | Drama in SC, Rajeev Dhavan tears Lord Ram’s ‘birthplace’ map

* Both Hindus and Muslims consider Ayodhya as the birthplace of Ram and there is no difference of opinion regarding this.

* The birthplace of Ram too is a juristic person and there are judgments which show that something which is not in idol form can also be a juristic person. God is all-pervading, so the manifestation of the divinity is also worshipped. The whole of Ayodhya is divine for Hindus and therefore everything connected to it is a juristic person.

* Allahabad HC held the disputed site is deity. If that is so, awarding joint possession is bad in law.

* Accounts of foreign travellers and historians establish beyond doubt the location of Ram Janmabhoomi, and that the temple there was demolished to make way for the Babri Masjid.

* Inscriptions on a stone slab “recovered” from the rubble of the demolished Babri Masjid pointed to existence of a 12th Century Vishnu temple.

* Divinity of Ram Janmabhoomi was not lost, though the Babri Masjid was built over the temple which pre-dated it, hence nobody can claim title over the site by adverse possession.

* Lime-surkhi mixture as building material was used in India much before the arrival of Muslims, and its presence on a 50-metre long wall, discovered beneath the disputed structure, does not indicate that the wall was an Islamic structure.

* A district court in Faizabad had concluded in 1886 that a mosque was built on land considered holy by the Hindus in Ayodhya, and it was for the Muslim side to show that this finding was wrong.

Read | Ayodhya hearing — Let Govt acquire land, allow prayers in ASI mosques: Deal on table

UP Sunni Central Waqf Board

* Examining historic rulership and legitimacy of actions of emperors like Babur and Aurangazeb will open a pandora’s box.

* Archaeological Survey of India report at best an “opinion” and “cannot be accepted as evidence” to decide the case.

* Lime-surkhi was brought to India during the Islamic period and its traces on the wall show it was part of an Idgah.

* Alleged placing of idols of Hindu deities in the central dome of the Babri Masjid on the intervening night of December 22-23, 1949, was a planned, surreptitious attack and an illegal usurpation.

* Some photographs of 1950 show “Allah” was inscribed on the inside walls of the masjid in Arabic calligraphy.

* There were idols of Hindu deities in the Ram Chabutra, but Hindus did not have title over the place, only the right to pray.

* Babri Masjid was used for prayers by Muslims even after the 1934 communal riots which damaged a part of it.

* Babri Masjid had an Imam who led the prayers and a Muezzin who recited the Azaan.

* Concept of Ram birthplace treated as a juristic person was “invented in 1989” for the purpose of the suit filed by Ramlalla Virajman that year.

* Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas has no locus standi in the matter, nor can it be party to any suit. Suit by Ramlalla Virajman was only a “socio-political vehicle” for Nyas, which was created in December 1985.

* Disputed premises has always been a mosque, since the day it was constructed.

* No evidence of demolition of a temple, gazetteers relied on by the temple side to prove their case not authentic proof of history.

* High Court did not consider report of four historians which rejected claims that the site was the birthplace of Ram.

* The demolished (Babri Masjid) building belonged to us… the right to reconstruct it also belongs to us. Nobody else has the right.

Timeline | When It Began: Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Dispute

Nirmohi Akhara

* We were in possession of inner courtyard and Ram Janmasthan for hundreds of years. Outer courtyard having ‘Sita Rasoi’, ‘Chabutra’, ‘Bhandar Grah’ was in our possession, never part of dispute in any case.

* Our suit was filed within the period of limitation. We are seeking rights to management and possession of the area.

Supreme Court’s Observations

* Has a question like the present one (on the birth of Ram) been raised about the birth of a prophet or whether Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in any court anywhere in the world?

* The presence of the Chabutra in close proximity with the iron railings put up by the British post-1855, to separate the Babri Masjid from outer courtyard, assumes significance.

* It is very difficult for the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board to question the belief of the Hindu community in Ram’s birthplace, given that even a Muslim witness had attested to the significance of Ayodhya for them.

* Archaeological Survey of India’s report not just an opinion, but expert opinion and will have to be given due weightage.

* Oral evidence on record that there was an idol at the “garbhagriha” (sanctum sanctorum) below the central dome of the Masjid even prior to 1949, and that Hindus had prayed to it.

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