Ayodhya case hearing ends; SC reserves judgement

 File photo dated October 1990 shows Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. (PTI photo)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its judgement in the protracted Ayodhya case related to Babri Masjid and Ram Temple, in the legal battle where both the Hindu and Muslim sides made their arguments for 40 days to lay their claims over 2.77 acres of land.

A five-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi wrapped up the hearing pertaining to the site which the Hindus claimed belonged to them for being the birthplace of Lord Rama while the Muslims asserted that it was a 16 th century mosque known as 'Babri Masjid'.

On conclusion of oral arguments, the court gave three days time to both the sides to file their written submissions on relief sought by them.

The judgment in the case is expected before November 17, the date when the current Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi would demit office. The bench also comprised Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.

During the hearing, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan and Zafaryab Jilani and others represented the Muslim sides. The Hindu sides were led by senior advocates nonagenarian K Parasaran, C S Vaidyanathan, P N Mishra, Sushil Kumar Jain, P S Narasimha, among others in more than 14 appeals.

The Muslim sides included Sunni Central Waqf Board, and M Siddiq, Farooq Ahmad and Mohd Hashim, all dead and led by their legal representatives. Mahant Suresh Das through legal representatives, Ram Lalla Virajman, Nirmohi Akhara represented the Hindu sides.

A batch of petitions were filed in the matter against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgement that directed for three-part equal division of 2.77 acres of land among the Sunni Central Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla Virajman.

In his concluding arguments, Dhavan asserted the right for the Muslims to reconstruct the mosque, demolished on December 6, 1992, and to pray over there on the ground that title belonged to them.

He said some mischievous crowd desecrated the mosque, where the Muslims peacefully prayed.

“Our plea is not just for title. There are many other aspects. The declaration is for public waqf. It was a public mosque. If Hindus are able to prove title before 1855, we adversely owned the place for more than two centuries”, Dhavan said.

Senior counsel Mishra contended the Muslims have no evidence of title or possession. He said there was no mention about the structure being used for offering namaz. He cited gazetteer of East India Company of 1828 to point out there was no mention of worship. Advocate Jain, for his part, reasserted 'shebait' right for 'Nirmohi Akhara'.

Senior advocate Vaidyanathan, for 'Ram Lalla Virajman' submitted that there was some evidence that Muslim side offered Friday prayers at the site from 1857 till 1934. but there was no such evidence after that but the Hindu side continued to worship.

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