'Muslims failed to prove Babur built mosque in Ayodhya'

Supreme Court of India. (File Photo)

Sunni Waqf Board and other Muslim litigants have failed to prove that Mughal emperor Babur constructed the mosque at the disputed Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya, a Hindu party told the Supreme Court Wednesday.

A 5-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, was told by senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, appearing for the Hindu party, that it was the case of the Muslim party that the mosque in question was built by the state (Babur) on the land belonging to the state, but it has not been proved by them.

He was responding to the 1961 lawsuit filed by Sunni Waqf Board and other Muslim individuals seeking title claim over the entire 2.77 acre disputed land at Ayodhya.

Vaidyanathan further said that if the Muslim side claimed title over the disputed land under the doctrine of adverse possession then they will have to accept that the deity of the temple was the previous real owner.

"They cannot claim the benefit of adverse possession. If they claim so then they will have to show the ouster of the prior owner that is a temple or the deity in this case," Vaidyanathan told the bench, also comprising justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.

The Muslims may have several places for offering namaz in Ayodhya but for Hindus, the place of birth of Lord Ram remains the same which cannot be changed, he argued.

He further said that the arguments of Muslim side that the land was dedicated as a 'waqf' on the ground of being long user is not sustainable because they did not have the exclusive possession over the property as Hindus and Muslims both were sitting there.

Another senior lawyer Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Hind devotee Gopal Singh Visharad, said that Muslims have failed to prove their case and the lawsuit filed by the Sunni Waqf Board and others ought to be dismissed as Visharad and other Hindu devotees have "pre-existing rights to worship" at the site.

The character of the disputed site cannot be decided on the basis of the faith of the Muslims, he said while concluding his submissions.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing the All India Hindu Mahasabha, referred to various aspects of the Allahabad High Court judgement and said there has been long faith and belief on the part of Hindus with regard to the scared nature of the birthplace of Lord Ram.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing the Muslim parties, objected when Singh attempted to refer a book on Ayodhya written by former IPS officer Kishore Kunal, saying such attempts should be disallowed.

The bench then asked Singh to proceed with the hearing saying, "Mr Dhavan, we have taken note of your objection."

The reference of a pictorial map, showing the exact birthplace of Lord Ram at the disputed site in Ayodhya, by Singh was also objected to by Dhavan.

Dhavan then asked the bench as to what he should do with it. The bench said that he can shred it into pieces.

Dhavan then tore the pictorial map, provided by the counsel for All India Hindu Mahasabha, in the courtroom.

The counsel for Nirmohi and Nirvani Akhara also advanced arguments in the case to claim management and "shebaithi right" (devotee right) over the disputed land in Ayodhya and said that they have been in possession of the property since 1885 and this has been fairly admitted by the Muslim side also.

The arguments will continue in the afternoon.

The top court made it clear that it will conclude today the day-to-day hearing in the politically sensitive Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case at Ayodhya, saying "enough is enough".

The bench said that it is hearing the Ayodhya land dispute case for the last 39 days and no more time beyond today will be granted to parties to conclude the hearing in the case.

"This matter is going to be finished today by 5 PM. Enough is enough," the bench, which also comprises justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, said at the start of the proceedings on the 40th day.

The apex court had earlier said the hearing would be concluded on October 17. Now the deadline has been advanced by one more day. The CJI is demitting office on November 17.

The bench also rejected a plea of a party seeking to intervene in the ongoing hearing and said no such interventions will be allowed now at this stage of proceedings.

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 three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

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