NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday began day-to-day hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case after mediation efforts in the decades-old dispute had failed.
Nirmohi Akhara, one of the parties in the case, was the first to begin arguments before the five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. Arguing that the possession of the Ram Janmabhoomi site was exclusive to Hindus, it said, “Muslims have not been allowed to enter the disputed structure since 1934.”
Seeking control of the entire 2.77-acre land, which is under dispute, senior advocate Sushil Jain said, “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.”He added Jhansi ki Rani was also protected by them when she took refuge at the Ayodhya temple. The hearing also witnessed heated exchanges between the bench and senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan appearing for a Muslim party.
When the bench asked the Nirmohi Akhara counsel to confine his arguments to the civil dispute and avoid reading written statements, Dhavan jumped in and asked if there would be curtailment of arguments.
The CJI said there won’t be any curtailment of arguments but Dhavan repeated his comment. At this, the CJI said, “Dr Dhavan, keep the dignity of the court.”
The bench also rejected the plea of K N Govindacharya seeking recording of the case proceedings.The counsel representing Nirmohi Akhara claimed rights over the disputed 2.77 acres and said they have been possessing, managing and worshipping Lord Ram Lalla since time immemorial at the site.
“In any case, you have been given one-third of the disputed area in preliminary decree by the High Court,” Justice D Y Chandrachud told the Nirmohi Akhara’s counsel.
“Before 1934, Muslims were offering regular prayers, the High court had noted in the verdict,” the bench observed while slating the hearing for Wednesday.
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 bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer is conducting a 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.
With inputs from PTI