Ayodhya land title dispute: How Nirmohi Akhada, Ram Lalla have staked claim

Topics Ayodhya case | Ayodhya

Mahant Dharam Das of the Niromani Akhada, which has staked claim to the inner courtyard
The Supreme Court began its final day-to-day hearing in the Ayodhya land title dispute case on August 6. Departing from the usual practice, a five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi is hearing the arguments on all five days of the week when the court functions. Usually, Monday and Friday are reserved as miscellaneous days when the court hears urgent petitions and adjudicates whether a case should be heard or not. So far, the Ayodhya land title dispute case has been heard for seven days.

Day 1

The first day of the hearing in the case started with the Nirmohi Akhada presenting its arguments. Senior advocate Sushil Kumar Jain, appearing for the Nirmohi Akhada, said that his suit was only for the possession of the inner courtyard, which currently lies with the court-appointed receiver. Jain also argued that the Ram Janambhoomi, or the birthplace of Ram, in Ayodhya was always in control of the Akhada. Backing up his claim, Jain said that the saints or Nirmohis who managed the Akhada and the believed birthplace of Ram had even given refuge to Rani of Jhansi Laxmibai after the battle of Jhansi.

Day 2

The second day of hearing on August 7 saw Nirmohi Akhada lawyer Jain continuing his arguments. The Akhada had been in possession of Ram’s birthplace for the longest time, Jain said. However, on being asked for land or revenue records that would prove their ownership of the disputed structure or site, Jain said that the records had been lost after a dacoity in 1982. The Nirmohi Akhada then sought some time to present additional documents to supplement their claim of ownership.

Post lunch, 92-year-old senior advocate K Parasaran, appearing for Ram Lalla, the deity himself, started his arguments.

Answering the question of revenue records, Parasaran said there might be no documentary evidence to prove that Ram was born there, but the faith of millions of devotees could not be wrong. At the very end of the hearings for the day, the apex court wanted to know if any other court in the world had to deal with where a god was born. Parasaran said he would check and get back to the court.

Day 3 

Parasaran, while continuing his arguments for Ram Lalla, said that both Hindus and Muslims living in and around Ayodhya have called it the janamsthana for ages. He contended that though the Sun might not have an idol, but it was a deity nonetheless. It was on the third day of proceedings that the apex court clarified it would hear the matter on all five days of the court’s working week.

Day 4 

On the fourth day, Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Muslim parties, said that the court should not hear the case on all five days as it did not give the advocates the time to prepare for the case. Though the court said it would consider Dhavan’s submission at a later stage, the court later clarified that it would indeed hear the case on all five days. The day saw Parasaran concluding his arguments for Ram Lalla, following which senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, also appearing for the deity, started his arguments.

Vaidyanathan started his submission by reading the Allahabad High Court’s judgment in which a three-judge Bench had noted that Muslim parties were never in exclusive control of the disputed land or structure.

Day 6

Vaidyanathan read historical travelogues and excerpts from books of ancient scholars to support his claims of the presence of a Ram temple at the disputed land. He also referred to the Skanda Purana, one of the holy books in Hinduism, which has references to the birthplace of Ram.

“This has always been considered as the birthplace of Lord Ram... people have revered this place. This cannot be disputed," Vaidyanathan said.

Day 7

Vaidyanathan told the five-judge Constitution Bench that there were pieces of photographic evidence to prove that the sculpture and structure of the mosque show it was a temple.

To further his claim, Vaidyanathan also told the apex court that mosques ordinarily did not contain pillars with images of deities and since this one had such images, a temple must have been present there.

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