Pure land dispute: SC won't hear political, religious arguments on Ayodhya

Topics Ayodhya case

The Supreme Court  said on Thursday that the politically sensitive Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid case was purely a "land dispute" and will be dealt with in normal course.

As the apex court commenced its final hearings on the Ayodhya dispute, there were heated exchanges between two senior advocates appearing for different parties after one of them suggested they should exchange the synopsis of their likely arguments.

The court during the course of an hour-long hearing also clarified that it was first inclined to hear those who were parties to the dispute in the Allahabad High Court.

It further said those who have tried to wade into the matter before it and seeking impleadment as parties will have to wait as the case before it was a "pure land dispute".

A special bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was hearing the civil appeals, arising out of 2010 verdict of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, which in a 2:1 majority ruling, had ordered that the disputed land be partitioned equally among three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. The bench also comprised Justices Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.

During the hearing, senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, representing the deity Ram Lalla Virajman suggested that opposite parties should give synopsis of their line of arguments to the court and exchange with them.

This argument of Vaidyanathan made senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan appearing for one of the original parties raise his voice and say that respondents (UP government and Hindu bodies) can't dictate on what propositions he would argue.

"Why should I tell you what will be my arguments. You cannot dictate me. I will argue the way I like. If you want to hear my proposition then I must say Mr. Vaidyanathan you are wrong. You all are wrong. This is my proposition," Dhavan said.

To this, the bench intervened and said that "The same arguments can be made by them for you Dr. Dhavan".

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Uttar Pradesh government intervened and said "This kind of hyperbole should be avoided".

At the fag end of hearing, the bench said that there was no point for Dhavan to get angry as the court had not asked for synopsis from anybody.

Giving the heated exchange between Dhavan and Vaidyanathan, a poetic colour, the CJI said, "We do not ask for propositions which lead to assumptions, leading to presumptions, leading to untruth, leading to folly, leading to danger, leading to guilt, which can kill a man".

Dhavan said that he is not guilty of all that.

The CJI replied and said that "Mr. Vaidyanathan did not ask for propositions from you".

The court in its order asked the original parties of the title suits to file English translation of the documents exhibited by them in the court.

The bench also expressed its reservation on hearing the matter on day-to-day basis and said, once the matter will start it will go on in normal course.

"Over 700 poor litigants (in other cases) are waiting for justice, we have to hear them also. Devoting one-and-half hour every day will help in disposing of these cases," the bench said.

When some lawyers including senior advocate Chirag Uday Singh raised the issue of impleading certain individuals including film director Shyam Benegal and writer Kiran Nagarkar as parties, the bench said the case was a "pure land dispute" in which appeals and cross-appeals have been filed.

The bench, however, said that the intervention of Benegal and others would be decided at later stage. However, the counsel for Muslim Organisations, Hindu bodies and the Uttar Pradesh government together made the statement that "no unconnected individuals be allowed to intervene".

On being informed by parties that pleadings were almost complete, the bench asked them to file within two weeks the English translations of documents, exhibits and excerpts from vernacular books, which have been used in the high court.

Mehta said that the "appeals were ripe for the hearing" and over 524 exhibits have already been filed.

Out of 524, 504 are exhibited documents and 20 are books like Ramayana, Ramcharitmanas and Shrimad Bhagwad Gita, he said adding the testimonies of 87 witnesses, examined in the high court and the report of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have also been filed.

The top court asked its registry to provide copies of the video cassettes, which were part of high court records, to parties of the case on actual cost.

Senior advocate K Prasaran appearing for one of the Hindu bodies, "What kind of evidence will they (appellants) bring from 30,000 years ago. The incident relates to the Treta Yuga".

He said that court should confine themselves to the evidence on record.

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