NEW DELHI: The crucial hearing on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute in the Supreme Court today witnessed a spat between senior lawyer Rajeev Dhavan and an advocate over former's remark that the 'Hindu Taliban' destroyed the mosque in 1992.
"I will not take back my words. I stand by the statement. The Hindus who demolished the Babri mosque are Taliban and some advocates also behave like that in the Supreme Court," Dhavan told a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.
Even after the terse observation of the top court that Dhavan's remark was "inappropriate", the senior lawyer, appearing for M Siddiq, one of the original litigants of the Ayodhya case, kept repeating that he differed with the comment of the bench.
"I have got the right to disagree. I do not agree with the Chief Justice of India (CJI) that I should have observed restraint in saying that Hindu Taliban demolished the mosque."
"The image of the Hindus was tarnished on December 6, 1992... The destruction of Babri mosque was a terrorist act. I will not take back my words. I stand by my words," Dhavan said.
Justice Bhushan intervened when Dhavan repeatedly stated that he disagreed with the CJI's observation and observed, "Yes, you (Dhavan) are entitled to your views. But, the CJI is also empowered to observe something."
The spat began when a lawyer objected to Dhavan's remark that the "Hindu Taliban" had destroyed the Babri mosque and said, "He cannot be allowed to use such words against the entire Hindu community."
"We are dealing with the issue whether it (the case) can be referred to a Constitution bench or not. The use of words (Hindu Taliban) was inappropriate," the bench said, adding, "Let the message go out loud and clear that the decorum of the court has to be maintained..."
It said that the lawyers, especially senior advocates, should maintain "decorum" during court proceedings and avoid using words which are "inappropriate".
A lawyer, who was not representing any party in the case, lost his temper and kept saying that how can Dhavan be allowed to use such words against a particular community.
"You (Dhavan) are comparing the Hindus with the Taliban. What kind of words are these," the lawyer said.
"Yes, those who brought down the mosque acted like the Taliban, I stand by my words," Dhavan replied.
There should be "orderly conduct in the court" and words like these should not be used, senior lawyer C S Vaidyanathan, representing deity 'Ram Lalla', said.
Later, the bench asked the security guards to take the lawyer out of the packed courtroom.
After almost 15 minutes, normalcy returned and Dhavan started his submissions, saying that the observations of the apex court in the 1994 verdict in the case of M Ismail Faruqui holding that a mosque was not integral to the prayers offered by the followers of Islam needed to be reconsidered by a five-judge bench.
The Supreme Court later reserved its order on the plea by Muslim groups in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute seeking reconsideration by a larger bench the observations made by it in a 1994 verdict that a mosque was not integral to Islam.
On July 13, Dhavan had said that Babri Masjid was destroyed by the "Hindu Taliban" just like the demolition of the Buddha statues by the Taliban at Bamiyan in Afghanistan.