NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Wednesday saw senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan tearing up the pictorial map provided by a Hindu party purportedly showing the exact birthplace of Lord Ram on the concluding day of the marathon hearing in the politically sensitive case of Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute in Ayodhya.
Dhavan, representing Sunni Wakf Board and other Muslim parties, took strong objection to senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for a faction of All India Hindu Mahasabha (AIHM), relying on the site map and books written by foreign and Indian authors to buttress claims that the central dome of the now-demolished structure was the birthplace of deity 'Ram Lalla'.
Dhavan said such documents (maps) cannot be relied upon in the matter now as the issue of the location of 'janmsthan' was discussed by the Allahabad High Court on other documents.
When he vigorously raised objections to the reliance on the pictorial map, which is also part of the book 'Ayodhya Revisited' by former Bihar cadre IPS officer Kishore Kunal, Singh said he will not press the pictorial map to be taken on record.
Dhavan then asked the 5-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi as to what he should do with it (map).
The bench said that he can shred the documents into pieces.
Dhavan then tore the pictorial map, provided by the AIHM counsel, in the courtroom to the utter shock of the lawyers and visitors in the packed courtroom.
The drama did not end there and during the hearing in the post lunch session, Dhavan again referred to the pre-lunch incident of his tearing off the papers and said that "outside the court, it has become viral".
"The news that has become viral is that I on my own tore the papers," he said.
Dhavan said he had asked and sought the permission of the bench whether those papers can be thrown and the reply from the CJI was "if it is irrelevant, you can tear it".
"The CJI said I could shred the papers and I just followed the order. I take the advice of Mr (Arvind) Datar in such matters and he told me it was a mandamus (a kind of writ or direction)," Dhavan said.
The CJI shot back saying, "Dr Dhavan is right that the chief justice said, so he tore up. Let this clarification also be widely reported."
The CJI was joined by another member of the bench, Justice S A Nazeer, who said: "It is widely reported now".
When Singh was advancing arguments, the repeated interruptions irked the bench and that led the CJI to observe: "For us the argument is well over".