The birth place of Lord Ram is also a deity and the Muslims cannot claim right over the 2.77-acre disputed land in Ayodhya as any division of the property would amount to “destruction” and “mutilation” of the deity itself, ‘Ram Lalla Virajman’ told the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
The counsel for deity ‘Ram Lalla Virajman’ was responding to a query posed by a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that if Hindus and Muslims were jointly possessing the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site at Ayodhya then how Muslims can be ousted.
“When property (janmsthanam) itself is the deity then the concept is that you cannot have the destruction, division or mutilation of deity. If the property is the deity then it will continue to remain as the deity and the mere fact that later a mosque came up does not make the deity itself divisible,” the counsel for ‘Ram Lalla Virajman’ told the bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.
Senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, appearing for the deity, had started advancing the arguments on the fifth day of the hearing in the politically sensitive case.
“Place of birth of Lord Ram has become a deity by the faith of the people. The three-domed Babri mosque coming up in 1500s did not shake the faith in the sanctity and dignity of Hindus,” he said.
The access was always contested but Hindus were never stopped worshipping, he said, adding, “There would be no death of a diety and hence, no question of succession of the deity”.
Moreover, Muslims have not been able to prove that the mosque belonged to Babar, he said.
At the outset, Vaidyanathan referred the Allahabad High Court verdict and said all three HC judges had taken the view that a temple was there at the place where mosque came up.
While Justice D V Sharma and Sudhir Agrawal of HC had held that the mosque came up at the place where the temple was existing, Justice S U Khan said the mosque was built at the ruins of a temple.
Referring to records, the senior lawyer said from 1856-57 to 1934, Muslims used to offer ‘namaz’ at the site and from 1934, the offering of five times ‘namaz’ was discontinued.
So far as Hindus are concerned, they have been offering prayers since time immemorial, he said, adding that even Muslim witnesses in their testimonies have accepted that Hindus have been praying there for centuries.
He then said that idols had been accorded the status of “juristic person” capable of holding properties and instituting lawsuit and besides, them, the birthplace of Lord Ram also has the status of deity having the same rights.
“If there is a sense of reverence and the religious efficacy is believed then no idol is required for a place to be regarded as the holy place,” Vaidyanathan said.
The bench concurred with the submissions and gave the example of ‘Kamadgiri temple parikrama’ and said there was belief that Lord Ram and Goddess Sita are “believed to have lived on that hill”.
The counsel for ‘Ram Lalla Virajman’, referring to a report and testimonies of Muslim witnesses, said that Ayodhya is the religious place for Hindus as Mecca and Jerusalem are religious places for Muslims and Jews respectively.
Vaidyanathan said Muslims have wrongly been granted one third share of the disputed land as their claim of having offered prayers there from 1850 to 1949 was not supported by the ownership of land.
They have neither proved title nor ouster of Hindu title by adverse possession, he said, adding that the deity continued to be the owner of land despite construction of mosque by razing down the temple.
He took the stand that Nirmohi Akhara, a Hindu body which was granted one third of the disputed land by the HC, has no right over the birthplace because of its position as ‘shabait’ (devotee) and due the fact that place in itself was the deity.
“The entire birthplace (janmasthanam), should be regarded as the ‘deity’ and hence Akhara cannot claim ownership of land, as they are in service of the deity,” he said.
The High Court found that the faith of the believers to be a very “compelling factor” in deciding the case and faith was found to be “writ large” due to the ancient practices, he said.
The bench then asked as to which place was regarded as the real birthplace of Lord Ram.
The lawyer said that the High Court had held that the place under the central dome of the disputed structure at Ayodhya was held to be the birth place of Lord Ram.
“By 2:1 majority, the birthplace was narrowed down to the spot under the central dome of the demolished mosque,” he said adding that however, Justice Sharma treated the entire property as the birth place.
Senior lawyer K Parasaran, also appearing for the deity, concluded his submissions saying the court “must do full and complete justice” in the matters.
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.