LiveLaw.in reports the key arguments made by the parties in the Ayodhya-Babri Masjid title dispute case, are summarized below:
Arguments by Ramlalla, Nirmohi Akhara etc
The main Hindu parties in the case were Ramlalla Virajman (the deity), Nirmohi Akhara and the legal representatives of Gopal Singh Visharad, a believer who filed a suit in 1950 seeking the right of worship in the disputed land.
The main points urged by Senior Advocates K Parasaran and C S Vaidyanathan on behalf of the deity are :
- The entire disputed area of 2.77 acres is the Janmasthan, the birthplace of Lord Ram.
- Janmasthan has a juridical personality of its own.
- It is the centuries old belief of millions of Hindus that Lord Ram's spirit resides in the Janmasthan. The faith of the devotees is itself the evidence that the Janmasthan is the birthplace of Lord Ram.
- There cannot be adverse possession against, or joint possession of Janmasthan, which by itself is a juridical personality. Janmasthan is indivisible.
- Claim of possession can be based on ancient customs, religious practices and beliefs.
- Idol is not necessary for conferring juristic personality. In Hindu belief, objects other than idols, such as sun, rivers, trees, etc., are given divinity. Therefore, land can be given divinity in the Hindu faith.
- The Archaeological Survey of India report shows that the Masjid was built on land over a massive structure that dated back to 2nd century BC.
- ASI report showed that there were images of humans and animals inside the structure. Islamic faith prohibits the depiction of such images in a mosque. So Babri Masjid cannot be regarded as a mosque as per Islamic tenets.
- Babri Masjid cannot be regarded as a mosque built in accordance with the tenets of Islamic law, which prohibits the construction of mosque by demolishing other structures.
- Ancient texts and scriptures refer to Ayodhya as the birthplace of Lord Ram. There is an unshakeable faith of devotees that it is the Janmasthan. That by itself is the greatest evidence.
- Ayodhya, being the birthplace of Lord Ram, holds particular significance for Hindus. They believe that visiting the Janmasthan will help them attain moksha.
- Babri Masjid ceased to be a mosque as Muslims had ceased to offer namaz.
- The decree in 1855 suit does not operate as res judicata as the plaintiff Mahant Raghubar Das did not represent entire Hindus. Also, the claim in that suit was confined to the outer courtyard and chabuthara.
- The suit filed by Sunni Waqf Board in 1961 is time-barred.
During the course of hearing, the stand of Nirmohi Akhara -which claims to be the manager of the deity's property - seemingly came in conflict with that of the deity.
Akhara claimed to be the sole official 'shabait' of deity 'Ram Lalla Virajman' at the disputed site since time immemorial and had said that that it had been appointing 'priests' for worship there. Senior Advocate S K Jain, appearing for the Akhara, put forth a claim for exclusive possession of the entire property. The Akhara had been in possession of the property for long and had filed the suit in 1959, thirty years before the suit filed on behalf of the deity, submitted Jain.
But when the deity itself is a party, can the Akhara set up a claim against the deity, asked the bench. Akhara later clarified that it was not claiming the title right of the property, but was claiming the right to manage the property as a devotee.
Senior Advocate P S Narasimha, appearing for Mahant Ramachandradas and Advocate P N Mishra, appearing for Sri Ramjanmabhumi Punarudhar Samiti, extensively referred to ancient scriptures to state that Ayodhya was referred as the Janmasthan centuries ago.
Arguments by Sunni Waqf Board and other Muslim appellants
- Mere belief of devotees cannot confer title over the disputed land. References in ancient scriptures will also not give title.
- Juristic personality cannot be ascribed to a thing, if there is no object of manifestation of belief, such as an idol. Therefore, a piece of land cannot be given a juristic personality without an object of manifestation of belief.
- Hindus' claim is barred by res judicata as the suit filed by Mahant Raghubar Das in 1855 was dismissed.
- Hindus were worshiping only in the outer courtyard. The idols were placed under the central dome of the mosque only in December 1949.
- The claim of possession by Hindu parties is based on a wrongful act of trespass committed on December 23, 1949, when idols were placed inside the mosque. The right of possession cannot be based on trespass.
- It is not possible to assess the legality of Babur's acts after several centuries.
- The court cannot enter into a theological examination of the legality of the construction of Babri Masjid as per Islamic law.
- The legality of mosque construction should be based on historical facts and not theology.
- ASI report has several contradictions. It is only an opinion. It does not conclusively state that Masjid was built over a temple.
- In the 1950 suits, Hindus only claimed the right to worship, and not a title. The title is claimed only in the belated suit filed in 1989 by the deity.
- 'Once a mosque always a mosque' - there is no concept of abandoning of a mosque. Muslims stopped namaz in the mosque only after 1950 when the property was attached by the District Magistrate.
Senior Advocates Rajeev Dhavan, Shekhar Naphade, Meenakshi Arora led the arguments for UP Sunni Waqf Board.
During the hearing, the Shia parties submitted that they were willing to abandon their claims in favour of Hindus. The Sunni Waqf Board opposed this by saying that Shias have no claim over the property and that they had not taken any such stand before the High Court.
The parties referred to "Baburnama"(Memoirs of Babur), Ram Charit Manas by Tulsi Das, passages in Ramayana, Skanda Purana, 18th century writings of European missionary Joseph Tieffenthaler, 1854 Gazetter of East India Company by Edward Thornton, survey by A E Cunningham and Montgomery Martin, travelogue of English historian William Finch etc., during the hearing.
The 5 judges bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Bobde, Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer will pronounce judgment in the case on November 9. The bench had reserved judgment on October 16 after forty days of hearing since August 6.
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 three parties - the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
Click here to read: Key observations in SC judgment