Ayodhya Land Dispute case: "Keep the dignity of the court", CJI Gogoi tells Sunni Waqf Board counsel
New Delhi, Aug 06: The Supreme Court on Tuesday began day-to-day hearing in Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case in Ayodhya. A Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had on August 2 taken note of the report of the three-member mediation panel, headed by former apex court judge FMI Kalifulla.
The Ayodhya mediation panel has submitted its status report to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover on Thursday, in compliance with the apex court's earlier order. The four other judges in the Constitution Bench are Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.
As per latest reports, the Counsel of Nirmohi Akhara commenced arguments in Ayodhya case. The Nirmohi Akhara's Counsel said its suit is basically for belongings, possession and management rights.
Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan is representing the Mosque appellants in the case while senior advocate Sushil Jain is appearing for Nirmohi Akhara.
Jain said Nirmohi Akhara's suit is basically for belongings, possession and management rights. He also reportedly told the court that no Muslims were allowed to enter the structure since 1934 and it has been in exclusive possession of the Akhara. The Supreme Court, shot back, and reportedly said that the HC verdict had noted that before
1934, Muslims were offering regular prayers at the disputed site.
Akhara's counsel said that the outer courtyard was not disputed, therefore the suit was confined to the inner courtyard. Undisputed structures in the outer courtyard belong to akhara, Jain reportedly said.
At one point, when Rajeev Dhavan interrupted Jain, CJI Ranjan Gogoi said, "Please keep dignity of court. You are an officer of court." To this, Dhavan replied, "Your lordship asked me something. I gave the answer."
Justice Gogoi the said, "But there is a way to answer."
The mediation panel, which also comprised spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu, had said in its report submitted on Thursday that the Hindu and the Muslim parties have not been able to find a solution to the vexatious dispute.
The Supreme Court had on July 18 asked the mediation committee on the Ayodhya land dispute to continue the mediation process and submit a report on the progress made till 31 July.
What is the Ayodhya land dispute all about:
The dispute involves 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya where a 16th Century mosque, said to be built by Mughal emperor Babur, stood. The Hindu activists who razed it in December 1992, believe that it was built on the ruins of an ancient temple marking the birthplace of Lord Ram.
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 Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid, constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished.
The central government on January 29 this year moved the apex court seeking its nod to return the 67-acre undisputed acquired land around the disputed site to original owners.
The 0.313 acre plot, on which the disputed structure stood before it was demolished by 'kar sevaks' on December 6, 1992, was within the 2.77-acre disputed premises., the plea said. The government had then acquired 67.703 acres, including the 2.77-acre plot, through a legislation in 1993. The Ram Janambhoomi Nyas (RJN) is the owner of as much as 42 acres of the acquired non-disputed land.
The Centre's plea said that the RJN (a trust to promote construction of Ram Temple) had also sought return of excess land acquired to original owners. The Centre claimed that only 0.313 acre of land was disputed on which the structure stood before it was demolished by 'kar sevaks' on December 6, 1992. A week later, another petition was filed challenging the constitutional validity of 1993 Central law on land acquisition in Ayodhya near the disputed site, contending that Parliament has no legislative competence to acquire land belonging to the state.