The counsel for Ramlalla Virajman on Tuesday disputed the Allahabad High Court’s order on joint possession of the disputed land in Ayodhya and asked how this was possible after the whole premises were held to be a deity.
“(The) High Court mixed up the three concepts. It says place is deity and deity is owner of place. And then it says they (Hindus and Muslims) have joint possession. In my view, the HC is not right in mixing up the facts”, senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, appearing for Ramlalla, told a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
“High Court says the premises, which is place of birth of Lord Ram, vests in the deity. But place itself is deity…. When the place itself is deity, there cannot be joint possession or title,” he told the bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.
Justice Chandrachud then asked the counsel, “That (submission) postulates that your worldview is universal…. Here we have two beliefs. One says place represents God personified, other says it’s only a place of worship. How do you balance both?”
Vaidyanathan replied that he was going by the High Court’s view, which “accepts the place as deity”. He added, “If that’s so, there can’t be joint possession, etc…. If place is deity, it can’t be divided or mutilated. It will continue to remain deity despite the fact that a mosque was built on it.”
“Just because some people have access to that mosque, they cannot (assume) ownership of that place,” he submitted.
Vaidyanathan said Muslims’ right of access to Babri mosque was “always contested” but “Hindus’ right to worship was never taken away”.
Referring to the September 30, 2010 judgment of the HC given by a three-judge bench, the counsel said one of the judges — Justice Sudhir Agarwal — had “narrowed down the janmasthan [birthplace] to the central dome [of Babri Masjid]…our contention is that the entire area as found by Justice Dharam Veer Sharma, should be considered janmasthan”.
On the existence of a temple at the site of the mosque which was razed on December 6, 1992, he said the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board in response to a suit had said that Emperor Babar built the mosque on vacant land belonging to the state. But all three HC judges concluded that the there was a temple at the site. One of them — Justice S U Khan ù said the mosque was built on the ruins of temples, Vaidhyanathan said.
Vaidyanathan referred to the statement of one Mohd Hashim, a resident of Ayodhya, who, he said, had stated that Hindus used to visit Ramjanmabhoomi as they believed it to be the birthplace of Ram, and several fairs were also held there.
Vaidyanathan also sought to rely on the 1870 report of British archeologist Patrick Carnegie. That was the time the official gazette was bring prepared, and Carnegie as Officiating Commissioner and Settlement Officer, after visiting the site, had written in his report that Ayodhya was to Hindus what Mecca was to Muslims and Jerusalem to Christians.
The senior counsel drew the court’s attention to an 1858 complaint about a ritual conducted by a Sikh from Punjab inside the area of the central dome of the mosque.
The complaint mentioned that “previously the symbol of janmasthan had been there for hundreds of years” and Hindus had been worshiping there, Vaidyanathan said.
The arguments remained inconclusive and will resume on Wednesday.