Ayodhya: On 5th day of hearing, arguments in Supreme Court on whether temple existed on disputed site

Arguments on whether a temple existed at the disputed site in Ayodhya were presented on Tuesday before the Supreme Court which heard the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case for the fifth day.


Senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, appearing for deity Ram Lalla Virajman, advanced arguments on whether there was an existing temple over which the mosque came up, before a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

Three judges of the Allahabad High Court had held that there was a temple at the disputed site, Vaidyanathan told the bench also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.

“Justice SU Khan of the high court had said that the mosque was built on the ruins of the temple,” the senior advocate told the bench.

Senior advocate K Parasaran, also appearing for deity ‘Ram Lalla Virajman’ told the court that it must do “full and complete justice” in all matters before it.

The bench had on Friday last asked as to whether anyone from the ‘Raghuvansha’ (descendants of Lord Ram) dynasty still resides in Ayodhya.

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.

On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid, which was constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished.

Ayodhya dispute: No Muslims were allowed to enter the structure since 1934, says Nirmohi Akhara

Nirmohi Akhara, one of the parties in the politically sensitive case of the Ayodhya land dispute, told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that no Muslims were allowed to enter the structure since 1934 and it has been in exclusive possession of the Akhara.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, was told by senior advocate Sushil Jain, appearing for Nirmohi Akhara, that it was seeking management and possession of the area.

The Akhara counsel told the court that its suit was basically for belongings, possession and management rights.

“I am a registered body. My suit is basically for belongings, possession and management rights,” said the Akhara counsel.

He also told the court that the Akhara was in possession of the inner courtyard and Ram Janmasthan for hundreds of years.

“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,” the senior counsel told the bench.

At the outset, the apex court had rejected the plea of former RSS ideologue K N Govindacharya seeking live streaming or recording of the case proceedings.

The bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer is conducting day-to-day hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case in Ayodhya after the efforts to arrive at an amicable settlement through mediation have failed.

It had on August 2 taken note of the report of the three-member mediation panel, headed by former apex court judge FMI Kalifulla, that the mediation proceedings, which went on for about four months, have not resulted in any final settlement.

The mediation panel, also comprising spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu, had said in its report submitted on Thursday that the Hindu and the Muslim parties have not been able to find a solution to the vexatious dispute.

Ayodhya dispute: Supreme Court seeks fresh status report on mediation proceedings within a week

The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a fresh status report on the ongoing mediation proceedings in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Ayodhya land dispute case within a week and made it clear that if the vexatious issue was not resolved amicably, it would hear the matter on a day-to-day basis from July 25.

A five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, requested former apex court judge Justice (Retd) F M I Kalifulla, chairperson of the three-member mediation panel, to submit the report by July 18.

The bench said after perusing the report, if it came to a conclusion that an amicable solution through mediation was not possible, then the apex court would commence day-to-day hearing in the matter from July 25.

“We deem it proper to request Justice (Retd) F M I Kalifulla to inform us about the progress of mediation till date and the stage at which the said process is presently at,” the bench, also comprising justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, said.

“This report will be submitted by Justice Kalifulla latest by Thursday next, on which date further orders will be passed,” the bench said.

The apex court passed the order while hearing an application filed by the legal heirs of one of the original litigants, Gopal Singh Visharad, seeking a judicial decision on the dispute and annulment of the ongoing mediation process, alleging that nothing much was happening there.

During the arguments, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for deity Ram Lalla Virajman, supported the application and said they had opposed the reference of the matter to a mediation panel earlier as well.

Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for a Muslim party, opposed the plea for annulment of the mediation process, saying it should be allowed to continue as the fresh plea was a ploy to intimidate them.

However, the bench told Dhavan that since the apex court had constituted the mediation panel, it was entitled to get the latest status report from the committee.

Appearing for the applicant, senior advocate K S Parasaran said at the outset, it was probably very difficult to settle a dispute of this nature through mediation.

Giving details of the number of sittings conducted by the mediation panel, he said it would be better if the apex court decided the dispute judicially.

Countering his submissions, Dhavan said, “I do not think it is fair at this point of time to criticise the methodology of the committee.”

At this juncture, the CJI said, “We will call for a report from the mediation panel.”

To this, Dhavan said stopping the mediation mid-way would be akin to a recall of the May 10 order by which the apex court had extended the time till August 15 for the committee to conclude the process.

“It is simply not fair. They (applicant) do not ask for a recall of the order of May 10. They are simply saying that scrap the mediation committee,” he said, adding, “Serious mediation is taking place there.”

The bench noted in its order that it had earlier asked the parties to the dispute before it to intimate the court in writing with regard to the accuracy and correctness of the translation of the oral evidence and exhibits in the case.

The bench said the parties were yet to intimate it about the same.

The apex court had, on May 10, extended the time for completion of the mediation proceedings till August 15 and said the panel of mediators was “optimistic” about an amicable solution.

On March 8, the court had referred the matter to the panel of mediators for exploring the possibility of an amicable settlement and appointed Justice (retd) Kalifulla as its chairman, spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu as the two other members of the committee.

It had asked the panel to hold in-camera proceedings and complete the process within eight weeks.

The top court had fixed the seat for the mediation process in Faizabad of Uttar Pradesh, around seven km from Ayodhya, and said adequate arrangements, including those related to the venue of the mediation, place of stay of the mediators, their security and travel, should be arranged forthwith by the state government so that the proceedings could commence immediately.

The bench was earlier told by Hindu bodies, except the Nirmohi Akhara, and the Uttar Pradesh government that they were not in favour of the court’s suggestion for mediation. The Muslim bodies had supported the proposal.

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.

On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid, constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished.

Ayodhya dispute: SC likely to hear pleas against HC verdict on Monday


New Delhi:
The Supreme Court is likely to hear Monday a batch of pleas challenging the Allahabad High Court’s 2010 verdict by which the disputed land on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid area in Ayodhya was divided into three parts.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph would hear the appeals filed in the matter.

On September 27, the apex court had declined to refer to a five-judge constitution bench the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgment that a mosque was not integral to Islam which had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.

In a majority verdict of 2:1, a three-judge bench headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra had said the civil suit has to be decided on the basis of evidence and the previous verdict has no relevance to this issue.

Justice Ashok Bhushan, who had penned the judgment for himself and the Chief Justice of India, had said it has to find out the context in which the five-judge bench had delivered the 1994 verdict. 

However, Justice S Abdul Nazeer had disagreed with the two judges and had said whether a mosque is integral to Islam has to be decided considering religious belief which requires detailed consideration.

The court had on September 27 said the civil suit on land dispute would be heard by a three-judge bench on October 29.

The issue whether a mosque is integral to Islam had cropped up when the three-judge bench was hearing the appeals filed against the Allahabad High Court’s verdict.

The three-judge high court bench, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had ordered that the 2.77 acres of land be partitioned equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

Senior SC lawyer Rajeev Dhavan to appear in Ayodhya case

 Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who recently gave up court practice in wake of his courtroom spat with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, has reconsidered his decision on the request of his client to appear in the Supreme Court in the Ram Janama bhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.

Seventy-four-year-old Dhavan had on December 11 called it quits after what he described as a “humiliating end” to the Delhi government-Centre dispute case following heated exchanges between him and the CJI.

Advocate Ejaz Maqbool, who is representing some of the Muslim bodies in the Ayodhya land dispute case, said that they had urged Dhavan to represent them in the matter and the senior counsel has accepted the request.

He said that before Dhavan announced that he had given up court practice, the senior lawyer was appearing for them in the Ayodhya dispute case.

“We requested him (Dhavan) to make an exception for the Babri Masjid case and he has accepted our request and he will continue to appear for us in the Babri Masjid case,” Maqbool said in a letter sent to the media.

“He (Dhavan) will be writing a letter to the Chief Justice of India that he will continue to appear in his pending matters,” he said.

Dhavan had earlier addressed a letter to the CJI saying he had decided to give up court practice.

“After the humiliating end to the Delhi case, I have decided to give up court practice. You are entitled to take back the senior gown conferred on me, though I would like to keep it for memory and the services rendered,” he had said in his letter.

His surprise announcement had come days after the apex court reserved its verdict in the Delhi-Centre case, i.e whether the Lieutenant Governor or the Delhi government enjoys supremacy in the administration of the national capital.

On December 6, just before the conclusion of the hearing in the case, heated exchanges were witnessed between the Chief Justice and Dhavan.

The senior lawyer was appearing for the Delhi government in the case besides their lead counsel Gopal Subramanium.

In the Delhi-Centre dispute hearing, Dhavan had made some submissions which were not appreciated by the bench.

Besides the Delhi-Centre case, Dhavan has represented a number of high-profile cases like the Ayodhya dispute, SEBI- Sahara, Rohingya refugees among others.

SC constitutes bench to hear Ayodhya dispute

SC constitutes bench to hear Ayodhya dispute
SC constitutes bench to hear Ayodhya dispute

The Supreme Court has constituted a three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra to hear a batch of petitions challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict in the Ayodhya land dispute case from August 11.

The bench, whose other members are justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer, would adjudicate the dispute over ownership of Ram temple-Babri masjid land.

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had in 2010 ruled a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acres area at the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri masjid site in Ayodhya.

The three-judge bench of the high court, by a 2:1 majority, had said the land be partitioned equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

On July 21, a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar had said that it would soon take a decision to list the matter for early hearing.

The court’s remark had come on a plea of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy who sought urgent listing and hearing of the matter.

Swamy had said that the main appeals against the Allahabad High Court order are pending for the last seven years in the apex court and these required urgent hearing.

He had also said that a separate petition had earlier been filed by him seeking enforcement of his right to worship without much hassle at the site.

The BJP leader had told the court that he has been allowed by the apex court to intervene in the matter and is seeking expeditious disposal of the cases.

( Source – PTI )

SC suggests fresh attempts to resolve Ayodhya dispute

SC suggests fresh attempts to resolve Ayodhya dispute
SC suggests fresh attempts to resolve Ayodhya dispute

The Supreme Court today said fresh attempts must be made by all parties concerned to find a solution to the Ayodhya temple dispute which is a “sensitive” and “sentimental matter”.

A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said that such religious issues can be solved through negotiations and offered to mediate to arrive at an amicable settlement.

“These are issues of religion and sentiments. These are issues where all the parties can sit together and arrive at a consensual decision to end the dispute. All of you may sit together and hold a cordial meeting,” the bench also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul said.

The observations came after BJP leader Subramanian Swamy mentioned the matter seeking urgent hearing of the issue.

Swamy said that it has been over six years and the matter needed to be heard at the earliest.

The Parliamentarian told the court that he had approached the Muslim community members who told him that judicial intervention was required to solve the matter.

“You must make fresh attempts to arrive at a consensual decision. If required, you must choose a moderator to end the dispute. If the parties wants me to sit with mediators chosen by both the sides for negotiations, am ready to take up the task. Even the services of my brother judges can be availed for the purpose,” the CJI said.

The top court said that it may also appoint a principal negotiator if the parties want.

The bench then asked Swamy to consult the parties and inform it about the decision on March 31.

On February 26 last year, the apex court had allowed Swamy to intervene in the pending matters relating to the Ayodhya title dispute with his plea seeking construction of Ram temple at the site of the demolished disputed structure.

The BJP leader had earlier moved the plea for a direction to allow construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya at the disputed site and had mentioned it before a bench headed by the then Chief Justice T S Thakur for an urgent hearing.

In his petition, Swamy had claimed that under the practices prevalent in Islamic countries, a mosque could be shifted to any other place for public purposes like constructing road, whereas a temple once constructed cannot be touched.

He had also sought directions to expedite the disposal of several petitions challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict of three-way division of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya on September 30, 2010.

( Source – PTI )

SC to hear next week Swamy’s plea on Ayodhya dispute

SC to hear next week Swamy's plea on Ayodhya dispute
SC to hear next week Swamy’s plea on Ayodhya dispute

The Supreme Court today agreed to hear next week BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea as to why Ayodhya temple dispute matters should be heard on a day-to-day basis.

A bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice A R Dave listed the plea of Swamy for next week after he sought an urgent hearing in the matter.

Swamy said that he has already been impleaded in the case relating to the Ayodhya dispute by the apex court and since the matter is pending for over five-and-a-half years, it should be heard on day-to-day basis.

The bench said that it would like to hear Swamy’s plea as to why a day-to-day hearing should be conducted.

On February 26, the apex court had allowed Swamy to intervene in the pending matters relating to the Ayodhya title dispute with his plea seeking construction of Ram temple at the site of demolished disputed structure.

The BJP leader had earlier moved the plea for a direction to allow construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya at the disputed site and had mentioned it before a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur for urgent hearing.

In his petition, Swamy had claimed that under the practices prevalent in Islamic countries, a mosque could be shifted to any other place for public purposes like constructing road, whereas a temple once constructed cannot be touched.

He had also sought directions to expedite the disposal of several petitions challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict of three-way division of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya on September 30, 2010.

( Source – PTI )