On the final day of hearing Supreme court, which went on for 40 long days, there were few surprises and also highly charged atmosphere in the courtroom, thanks to the Lawyer representing Sunni Waqf Board, Rajeev Dhawan’s dramatics on display.
CJI Gogoi had clearly stated that the proceedings and the arguments has to come to an end, and no more extensions in terms of time will be entertained.
In a dramatic turn of event, Sunni Waqf Board sought to Withdraw from Ayodhya Title Dispute, the mediation panel has informed the Supreme Court.
The move comes amid reports of a possible rift between members of the board following FIRs against its chairman ZA Faruqui.
The Uttar Pradesh government has recommended an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Faruqui into alleged illegal sale and purchase of land for the board.
Faruqui was on Monday provided security on the orders of the apex court after he apprehended a threat to his life. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took note of the communication addressed to it by a member of the mediation committee that Faruqui has informed him about the threat.
Sources aware of the development said after the FIRs, Faruqui had attempted to change his Advocate-on-Record in the Ayodhya case. He allegedly also wrote to the mediation panel, asking for a fresh round of talks, without the knowledge of his legal team.
In its proposal to the mediation panel, the board has suggested giving up its claim on the disputed site but sought that Places of Worship Act, 1991, should be made water-tight.
It has asked that the government take over maintenance of around 22 mosques in Ayodhya, many of which were damaged in the riots after the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
It has also asked the Supreme Court to form a committee to check the status of other religious places under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India.
The decision to give up the claim, might have been the result of developments that are taking place in the countr. The BJP led centre and State government s and the sense of unity among the Hindu population in recent years might have caused a pressure on the Waqf board to rethink their claim.
The ASI excavation has shown numerous solid proofs as to existence of a temple in the disputed site. Hence even the Sunni Waqf board too knows the truth.. the situations have changed in the recent years, Hindus are no longer apologetic about their identity.
Supreme Court on Tuesday had said it is looking forward to conclude the arguments before its advanced deadline of October 17.
A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has been hearing the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit for 39 days and had earlier set the deadline to finish arguments on October 18. This was later brought forward to October 17, but the CJI on Tuesday indicated that it would like to conclude all arguments by Wednesday instead of Thursday.
The judgment is now reserved by the bench.
Supreme Court witnessed a dramatic spectacle when an infuriated Rajeev Dhawan, counsel representing the Muslim parties’ Sunni Waqf Board, tore apart papers and maps handed over to him by senior advocate Vikas Singh, who was representing the All India Hindu Mahasabha.
The map contained a depiction of the disputed ‘Ram Janamsthan’ or the alleged birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya.
Vexed by this unprofessional behaviour, the Chief Justice of India (CJI), RanjanGogoi, issued a warning to Dhavan, sarcastically saying, “You can shred them further.” After the senior advocate did so, the exasperated CJI commented, “If these are the kind of arguments going on, then, we can just get up and walk out.”
Senior advocate Dhavan reacted as such after the counsel for the Hindu Mahasabha presented a published book by Kunal Kishore – ‘Ayodhya Revisited’ – to construct their argument before the Bench at the Court. Dhavan took heavy objection to this line of argument and resorted to tearing apart the papers from the book as a protest.
Later, the Hindu Mahasabha counsel Vikas Singh said this behaviour disturbed the decorum of the Court.
Questioning the Hindu parties’ claim, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, said, how can the Hindu side make claims from an illegal act, since they are relying upon all illegal acts, including 1855.
“Even if we assume that you had title, what do we say? That then over time we have title by adverse possession,” he said.
Referring to the 1992 demolition of the mosque, Dhavan submits, “The building that was destroyed was of Muslims. The right of its reconstruction, its restoration can only be with the Muslims.”
Going by his logic, is it not outright clear that, a temple was existing at the site, which was destructed, destroyed and a mosque was built in it’s place.
Does it not give Hindus, naturally the right of reconstruction and restoration of our temple?
The five-judge bench Constitution bench headed by Justice Gogoi was hearing appeals challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict, which ordered equal division of the 2.77-acre of disputed land in Ayodhya among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and the Ram Lalla.
The 16th-century Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.
The arguments have currently concluded and the Supreme Court has reserved its order, saying that the rest of the submissions can be made in written form in the next three days.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has decided to cancel a multi-nation official foreign visit this month, apparently to make sure there is enough time to write the judgment in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case and deliver it before he retires.
CJI Gogoi was set to fly out to Dubai on 18 October before proceeding to Cairo, Brazil and New York to attend some programmes.
He was scheduled to return to India on 31 October. The trip had been cleared by the Narendra Modi government last month.
On Tuesday, however, Gogoi’s office informed the Modi government about the cancellation of the trip. The CJI plans to ensure the judgment in the highly contentious case is delivered before his retirement, added the sources. Gogoi is set to retire on 17 November.
Union Home minister Amit Shah has already made it clear that, the country will respect the verdict of the apex court, no matter how it rolls out. the evidences and arguments have given a new hope that, within a month a century long dispute will finally be resolved.
Dr. Sindhu Prashanth