Days after attempts of mediation failed to make any headway in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case, the Supreme Court commenced the day-to-day hearing on Tuesday. Presenting its arguments, Nirmohi Akhara, one of the parties, told the court that Muslims have not been allowed to enter the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid structure in Ayodhya since 1934, and sought the control and management of the entire 2.77 acre land which is under dispute.
Akhara’s senior counsel told the court, “We were in possession of inner courtyard and Ram Janmasthan for hundreds of years. Outer courtyard having ‘Sita Rasoi’, ‘Chabutra’, ‘Bhandar Grah’ were in our possession and it was never a part of dispute in any case.”
A five-judge constitution bench, earlier today, began hearing the Ayodhya land dispute case on the appeals challenging the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court on the division of the disputed Ayodhya site. The bench is headed by Chief Justice of India Justice Ranjan Gogoi and includes Justices S A Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.
The counsel representing Nirmohi Akhara claimed right over disputed 2.77 acre Ram janmabhumi-Babri Masjid land and said they have been possessing, managing and worshipping Lord Ram Lalla since time immemorial at the site.
The bench in-turn told Akhara’s counsel that in any case, the group has been given one-third of disputed area in preliminary decree by the Allahabad High Court.
“Before 1934, Muslims were offering regular prayers, High court had noted in the verdict,” the bench observed.
On September 30, 2010, the Allahabad High Court ordered a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acres of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site between the Nirmohi Akhara sect, the Sunni Central Wakf Board, Uttar Pradesh and Ramlalla Virajman.
The hearing also led to a heated dialogue between senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for a Muslim party, and the bench. When the court asked counsel for Akhara to limit his arguments to civil dispute and asked him to skip reading some written statements, Dhavan interfered and said perhaps there would not be any curtailment of arguments.
In response to Dahvan’s statement, the CJI said there should not be any doubt that the hearing or the arguments would be curtailed in any manner. However, Dhavan commented again and in turn was pulled up by the court. ” “Dr Dhavan, keep the dignity of the court. Please keep in mind that you are officer of the Court and all we are saying that we are not going to curtail anybody’s arguments,” the CJI said.
Fourteen appeals have been filed in the top court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits. On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid, constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished.
(With PTI inputs)