The Supreme Court Wednesday concluded the hearing of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case and has reserved the judgment. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi also asked the parties to file written submissions on the molding of relief in three days.
The high-octane hearings between the rival sides in the legal dispute was not without drama on the final day. It had numerous lawyers vying for time to argue their points and saw senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan tear pages on his desk while the Chief Justice and the judges, who have constantly attempted to maintain peace among lawyers, even threatened to walk out if order and decorum were not restored.
The high voltage hearing in the dispute involving 2.77 acres of land is the second-longest after the landmark Keshvanand Bharti case in 1973 during which the proceedings for propounding the doctrine of the basic structure of the Constitution continued for 68 days. The hearing on the validity of the Aadhaar scheme lasted for 38 days in the top court, which came into existence in 1950.
The bench is racing against time since the verdict has to be delivered before CJI Gogoi demits office on November 17.
The main arguments laid down by the Hindu side is that their faith and belief that Lord Ram was born exactly under what was the central dome of the Babri Masjid, before the mosque was demolished by kar sevaks on December 6 of 1992, has been consistent across centuries. Travelogues, writings, and Skanda Purana have mentioned the Ramjanmabhoomi as a place of special religious significance to the Hindus. The Hindus have claimed that the disputed land itself is a juristic personality not hit by the law of limitation.
They have highlighted photographs from the Archaeological Survey of India excavations to prove that a large religious structure pre-existed the Babri Masjid. They said Mughal Emperor Babur demolished the temple to build the mosque.
Mr. Dhavan has argued that the Muslims have exclusive titles over the land and the Hindus were given only prescriptive rights to enter and pray at the Ram Chhabutra.
The hearing in the case took place even as Section 144 of the CrPC, banning the assembly of four or more people, has been imposed in Ayodhya district and surrounding areas in Uttar Pradesh till 10 December, in anticipation of the judgment in the case.
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 is partitioned equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
The Ayodhya hearing is the second-longest in the history of the Supreme court after the landmark hearing in the Keshavananda Bharati case which lasted for 68 days.
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