Ayodhya: Suprme Court commences hearing for 10th day

The Supreme Court on Thursday commenced hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case for the 10th day, with counsel for the one of the original litigants seeking enforcement of his rights to worship at the disputed site.


A five-Judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was hearing the title dispute.

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Gopal Singh Visharad, one of the original litigants, commenced arguments before the bench.

Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

Babri Masjid was demolished by right-wing activists on December 6, 1992 in Ayodhya, leading to a protracted legal battle.

Ayodhya case: Muslim party objects hearing on all days of week, says it can’t be ‘rushed through’

A Muslim party on Friday objected in the Supreme Court five-days-a-week hearing of the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case in Ayodhya, saying it will “not be able to assist” the court if the hearing is “rushed through”.

The submission was made by senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who is appearing for a Muslim party, when the Supreme Court commenced hearing on the fourth day in the case.

Breaking with the tradition, the apex court decided to hear the sensitive case on Friday which is kept kept fresh cases only, along with Monday. As per the apex court’s procedures, on Mondays and Fridays, the registry lists before the benches fresh and miscellaneous cases after notice cases.

As the counsel for deity ‘Ram Lalla Virajmaan’ started advancing its submissions before a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Dhavan got up and interjected the proceedings.

“It is not possible to assist the court if it is heard on all days of the week. This is the first appeal and the hearing cannot be rushed in this manner and I am put to torture,” he told the bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.

He said the apex court was hearing first appeals after the Allahabad High Court delivered the verdict in the case and the hearing as such cannot be rushed through.

Being a first appeal, documentary evidences have to be studied. Many documents are in Urdu and Sanskrit, which have to be translated, Dhavan said.

The senior lawyer alleged that “perhaps, except Justice Chandrachud, other judges might not have read the judgment (Allahabad High Court’s)”.

He said that if the court has taken a decision to hear the case on all five days of the week then he might have to leave the case.

“We have taken note of your submissions. We will revert back to you soon,” CJI Gogoi said and proceeded with the hearing.

The bench has now started hearing the submissions of senior advocate K Parasaran on behalf of deity Ram Lalla Virajmaan.

The apex court had on Thursday asked the counsel for the deity, which itself has been made a party to the case, as to how the ‘Janmasthanam’ (birth place of deity) can be regarded as a “juristic person” having stakes as a litigant in the case.

The apex court had said on the third day of the hearing that so far as Hindu deities were concerned, they have been legally treated as juristic person which can hold properties and institute, defend and intervene in lawsuits.

The bench, however, had asked Parasaran as to how ‘Janamsthanam’ can file the case in the land dispute as a party.

The law suit filed by the deity in the Ayodhya case has also made the birth place of Lord Ram as co-petitioner and has sought claim over the entire 2.77 acre of disputed land at Ayodhya where the structure was razed on December 6, 1992.

Subramanian Swamy moves SC for urgent listing of plea seeking fundamental right to pray at Ayodhya

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy Monday moved the Supreme Court for urgent listing of his plea seeking enforcement of his fundamental right to worship at the disputed Ram Temple site at Ayodhya.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked Swamy to remain present in the court on Tuesday when the main Ayodhya matter will be taken up for hearing.

Swamy, while mentioning the matter for urgent listing, told the bench that his plea should be heard separately.

However, the CJI said, “You be present here tomorrow. We will see.”The apex court had last year disallowed Swamy from intervening in the Ayodhya land dispute case and made it clear that only the parties to original lawsuits would be allowed contest.

However, the bench had considered Swamy’s submission that he had not sought to intervene in the matter but had filed a separate writ petition seeking enforcement of his fundamental right to worship at the birth place of Lord Ram in Ayodhya.

“I had filed a writ petition saying that I have a fundamental right to worship and this is a superior right than property right,” Swamy had said.

“As we are not inclined to permit the intervention application, the writ petition filed by the applicant (Swamy) shall stand revived and it shall be dealt with by the appropriate bench in accordance with law,” the bench had said.

On Monday, Swamy sought urgent listing of his plea for the enforcement of fundamental right to worship.

The top court will hear the politically sensitive Ayodhya’s Ram-Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid land dispute matter on February 26.

It will be heard by a five-judge Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.

Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

The five-judge bench was re-constituted on January 25 as Justice U U Lalit, who was a member of the original bench, had recused himself from hearing the matter.

Plea to declare disputed area of Ayodhya as national heritage

New Delhi: A petitioner who sought that the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri masjid site at Ayodhya be declared a national heritage was today asked by the Delhi High Court to file a representation in this regard before the Centre.

A bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar did not issue notice on the PIL and instead asked petitioner advocate Anu Mehta to make a representation before the Union Ministry of Culture in this regard.

The bench said that the Centre may consider the representation and take a decision within three months.

The PIL has sought a direction to the government to notify and acquire the disputed site and the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act and declare it as the national heritage.

It further sought a direction to the Centre to preserve and protect the site, take necessary action “to preserve the monuments — the ancient temple as well as the mosque — independently”.

“If there was a requirement to separate the superstructure from the original structure, i.e., the entire monument at the site, the sanctity of both monuments should be maintained,” the plea said.

It said that the disputed site was of archaeological importance and had “ancient monuments, antique artefacts and antiques which constitute our national heritage”.

“As per the Act, duty is cast upon the State to preserve ancient monuments and sites and accordingly the said site/monument ought to be accorded place and status of national importance, acquired from private owners and preserved by the state for sake of historical and cultural preservation of the country,” the plea said.

Ayodhya: Supreme Court asks parties to file English translation of documents

 The Supreme Court today asked parties before the Allahabad High Court in the Babri Masjid- Ram Janmabhoomi dispute to file in two weeks English translation of documents exhibited by them.

A special bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that it would hear the appeals on March 14 and clarified that it never intended to hear the case on a “day-to-day basis”.

The bench, also comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, said it will deal with the instant matter as a “pure land dispute” and indicated that impleadment applications of those which were not before the High Court would be dealt with later.

The top court said the excerpts of vernacular books, which have been relied upon in the case, be translated in English and be filed within two weeks from today.

The apex court also directed its Registry to provide copies of video cassettes, which were part of high court records, to parties on actual cost.

The special bench of the apex court is seized of a total 14 appeals filed against the high court judgement delivered in four civil suits.

A three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had in 2010 ordered that the land be partitioned equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

SC to examine appeal against dropping of charges in Babri case

SC to examine appeal against dropping of charges in Babri case
SC to examine appeal against dropping of charges in Babri case

The Supreme Court today kept its options open on examining the dropping of conspiracy charge against accused like L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti in the demolition of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri structure in Ayodhya in 1992.

The apex court also came up with the option of ordering a joint trial of cases arising out of the two FIRs lodged in the wake of the demolition of the disputed structure.

“There are 13 persons who were discharged only on technical grounds. Today, we are saying why can’t we club both the cases and have a joint trial,” a bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman said.

“We will not accept the discharge on technical grounds and we will allow supplementary charge sheet,” the bench said.

These observations were made orally during a brief hearing by the bench, which posted the matter for further hearing on March 22.

However, the clubbing of two FIRs was opposed by the counsel for the accused on the ground that there were different sets of persons named as accused in the two cases, the trial of which were at an advanced stage at two different places.

They were of the view that joint trial would lead to the beginning of proceedings de novo (afresh).

Altogether, 13 persons including Advani, Joshi and Bharti were discharged of conspiracy charge in the case, the trial of which is being held at a special court in Raebareli.

The second set of case was against unknown ‘karsevaks’ who were in and around the disputed structure and the trial was being held at a court in Lucknow.

The appeals were filed by one Haji Mahboob Ahmad (since dead) and the CBI against dropping of conspiracy charges against BJP leaders Advani, Joshi and 19 others for demolition of the disputed medieval structure on December 6, 1992.

During the hearing, the bench also said that supplementary charge sheet was filed against eight persons but not against the 13 who were discharged.

Besides BJP leaders Advani, Joshi and Bharti, conspiracy charges were dropped against Kalyan Singh (presently Governor of Rajasthan), Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and VHP leader Acharya Giriraj Kishore (both have since died).

( Source – PTI )

SC refuses early hearing to Swamy’s plea for facilities at Ayodhya

SC refuses early hearing to Swamy's plea for facilities at Ayodhya
SC refuses early hearing to Swamy’s plea for facilities at Ayodhya

The Supreme Court today refused to give an early hearing to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking facilities for the devotees visiting the disputed site in Ayodhya.

“You (Swamy) are just an intervener and your plea will be heard along with that of other aggrieved parties,” a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said.

Swamy mentioned the matter before the bench, also comprising Justice U U Lalit, and said that devotees who are visiting the disputed site are not getting basic amenities like drinking water, toilets etc.

Earlier, the apex court had asked Swamy to mention the matter before the Chief Justice of India for an urgent hearing.

The apex court had last year asked the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government to consider providing better amenities feasible in the present scenario to pilgrims at ‘Ram Janma Bhoomi’ site.

“Let us do something. If possible, do something for the upkeep of the place and provide facilities for visitors,” it had said.

Prior to this, it had asked the Centre to file its response to the application filed by Swamy seeking facilities for the pilgrims.

Swamy had submitted in his plea that pilgrims, who are devotees of Lord Rama, are deprived of even basic facilities like drinking water and toilets and face difficulty due to inadequate arrangements made by both the Centre and the UP government.

Swamy had said the status quo order passed by the apex court in 1996 was limited to prohibit building of any structure at the disputed site.

In his application, he had sought an order from the apex court to “ameliorate the lot of millions of Hindu pilgrims who make the pilgrimage to the site of the ‘Ram Janma Bhoomi’ at Ayodhya, to have a ‘darshan’ and perform ‘pooja’.”

( Source – PTI )

Security for lawyers: HC directs counsel to seek instructions

Security for lawyers: HC directs counsel to seek instructions
Security for lawyers: HC directs counsel to seek instructions

The Allahabad High Court has directed the counsel for the Centre and the state to seek instructions on an application alleging that proper security was not being provided to lawyers appearing in the Ayodhya matter as per the directions of the court.

A division bench of justices Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Rajan Roy passed the order yesterday on an application moved by the petitioners’ counsel H S Jain on a writ petition.

Jain said that earlier the court had issued directions to provide proper security to the lawyers appearing in the Ayodhya matter.

He alleged that some such lawyers were not being provided security as per the directions of the court.

The court, while listing this case for hearing on October 30, directed the counsel for respondents to seek instructions on this application.

( Source – PTI )

SC drops contempt charges against Giriraj Kishore

supreme courtThe Supreme Court Wednesday dropped contempt charges against VHP leader Giriraj Kishore, who died after judgement on the issue was reserved, for allegedly making defamatory statement in 1994 on Ayodhya controversy.

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha also dropped contempt proceedings against editor and reporter of a daily Khabardar India for publishing derogatory statement of the VHP leader.

Giriraj, who was brought to the court on March 26 to appear in the proceedings, died on July 13.

The court noted that the VHP leader, when he appeared before it, was not able to respond due to severe physical and mental illness. It was hearing a petition filed by senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan who had sought contempt proceedings against Giriraj.

“We appreciate the gravity of the subject matter highlighted by Rajeev Dhawan. We are also not oblivious of the fact that the Court was not satisfied prima facie with the initial response filed by Giriraj Kishore and ordered on May 06, 1994 to initiate the contempt proceedings.

“But, the fact of the matter is that despite the order passed on 06.05.1994, the notice accompanied by charges on him has not been served so far. In this view of the matter, at this distance of time, when the subject matter remained dormant for almost two decades and now the contemner is 96 years and he is not able to respond to the charges due to old age and illness, we do not think that this is a fit case where we should deal with the matter further,” the bench said.

The bench said since contempt proceedings are not being pursued further to find out criminality against the author who made the offending statements, we are of the view that contempt matter does not deserve to be pursued against owner, publisher, editor of Khabardar India and its reporter Pradeep Thakur.

(Source: PTI)

Ayodhya verdict challenged in Supreme Court

The Allahabad High Court’s Sep 30 verdict on the Ayodhya dispute was Monday challenged by a petitioner in the Supreme Court.

The appeal was filed by Mohammad Siddiq alias Hafiz Mohammad Siddiq on behalf of 90-year-old organisation Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH). Siddiq is the general secretary of the JUH, which had taken part in the country’s independence struggle.

The appeal raised 33 questions of law and facts seeking to be addressed by the apex court.

A three-judge special bench of the high court had ordered division of the disputed 90 ft x 120 ft Ayodhya plot of land where the Babri Masjid once stood into three parts – one to Ram Lalla deity, one to the Nirmohi Akhara and one to the Sunni Waqf Board .

The JUH questioned whether the high court while deciding the case travelled beyond the pleadings of the parties because in none of the suit there was any prayer for the partition of the site.

It has also asked whether the high court could have taken the support of a report of the Archaeological Survey of India which had no evidentiary value.

The petition said that the high court judgment said that the structure in question was a mosque. Merely because in some portion of that structure Hindu prayers were being performed did not change the ownership status, it said.

The petition also raised the question whether the high court could have re-written history while delivering the judgment substituting its role from an adjudicatory body on law to that of historians.

The two certainly had different spheres and different fields, meaning thereby the established history had to be applied in consonance with the facts contained therein, it said.

The petition said that the high court fell in serious error by passing decree on the basis of faith and belief.

The judgment and decree could not have proceeded since the law did not recognize the “faith” or “belief” for the purpose of a determination of issues between two or more litigating parties.

The petition said that the belief that Lord Ram was born on the site of Babri Masjid was not the same as that Lord Ram was the king of Ayodhya and son of King Dashrath.

Without naming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its senior leader L.K. Advani, the petition said that the high court failed to take into account motives and vested political interests in nurturing such beliefs.

The petition said that the Ramjanmabhoomi movement of the 1980s-90s was aimed at political gains.

This agitation created a communal divide between Hindus and Muslims, it said.

The petition expressed its surprise over a high court judge having “castigated and passed extremely uncharitable remarks against some of the expert witnesses of history/archaeology produced by Muslims”.

While no such comments were made against the so-called expert witnesses produced by the Hindus related to the construction of the disputed building and giving much more self-contradictory statements, it said.