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The Supreme Court will be hearing the Centre's appeal regarding the execution of the Nirbhaya convicts on February 7. Photo: PTI

Ayodhya case: Muslim parties allege that SC didn't question Hindu parties

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Muslim parties alleged before the Supreme Court on Monday (October 14) that questions are asked only to them and not posed to the Hindu side in the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi (at Ayodhya) land dispute case.

This comment was made by senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan who was appearing for the Muslim parties before a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. “Your Lordship didn’t ask questions to the other side. All the questions have been asked to us only. Of course, we are answering them.” Dhavan told the bench on the 38th day of the crucial hearing in the case.

The submission was vehemently opposed by senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan representing deity Ram Lalla, who said, “This is totally unwarranted”.

The development comes a day after the Uttar Pradesh government, anticipating tensions ahead of the conclusion of the hearings, imposed Section 144 in Ayodhya till December 10.

VHP wants to light lamps in disputed site

Adding fuel to the already simmering situation, the VHP on Saturday (October 12) had said that seers will light 5,100 earthen lamps at the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site on Diwali. VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma said the seers of Ayodhya will light the lamps before the deity inside the Ram Mandir.

The district administration, however, asserted that there will be no religious activity beyond the Supreme Court’s mandate.

Also read: Ayodhya: SC issues notice to two for threatening senior advocate Dhavan

Dhavan’s remark came when the bench, which also comprises justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, said that the idea behind erecting an iron railing at the disputed site was to separate the inner courtyard from the outer courtyard.

By putting up an iron railing, the idea was to separate Hindus and Muslims and it was to appreciate the fact that Hindus were offering prayers in the outer-courtyard where Ram Chabutra, Sita Rasoi, Bhandar Grih were situated, the court said.

The bench also took note of Dhavan’s submissions that the Hindus only had “prescriptive rights” to enter and offer prayer at the site and that it did not mean that they had ownership claim over the disputed property.

Also read: Supreme Court sets new deadline for final Ayodhya hearing

As you say they had the right to pray and enter, does it not dilute your right to ownership, the bench asked, adding in case of “exclusive ownership” over a property, can a third person be allowed entry and prayer right.

The protracted hearing in the case has entered the crucial final leg on Monday as the top court resumed proceedings on the 38th day after the week-long Dussehra break.

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.

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