NEW DELHI: The first day of Supreme Court hearing in the politically-sensitive case of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute on Tuesday saw exchange of words between the bench and a senior advocate representing a Muslim party.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, which was hearing the submissions of senior advocate Sushil Jain on behalf of Nirmohi Akhara in the case, got irked when senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan interjected the arguments.
The bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, asked Jain, who was referring to some records, not to read further the written submission as they did not pertain to or support his case.
Dhavan, representing the legal heirs of one of the Muslim litigants, got up and said that they are important and he will place them before the court when his turn comes.
Irked over the interjection, the CJI told Dhavan, "You argue whatever you want when your turn comes. You will get equal opportunity to argue."
Dhavan replied, "I hope so."
To this, the CJI said, "We do not want to curtail anybody's right for argument".
Dhavan then said that he was just responding to the query of the bench.
"Dr Dhavan, 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. There are ways of replying," the CJI said.
Dhavan replied: "Yes, I am an officer of the court".
To this, the CJI said, "Dr Dhavan, keep the dignity of the court in mind."