Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who is representing the Sunni Wakf Board in the Ayodhya land dispute case, on Thursday alleged that his clerk was threatened on the Supreme Court premises, PTI reported.

Dhavan, who had earlier filed a contempt plea over the alleged threats to him, also said that he had received another threat message on Facebook for representing the Muslim party in the case. Dhavan said the atmosphere was not “conducive for hearing”. He told the bench hearing the case that such things should not happen in the court and “one word from your Lordship” will be enough on this.

The five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, took note of the submission, and condemned the incident. “This has to be deprecated,” said the bench, according to PTI. “This is something which should not be happening.”

However, Dhavan turned down the Supreme Court’s offer of more security, reported Bar and Bench.

On September 3, the Supreme Court had issued a notice to two people for allegedly threatening advocate Dhavan. In his petition, Dhavan had said he had received a letter from retired education officer N Shanmugam on August 14, in which he threatened him for appearing for the Muslim parties in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case.

Dhavan had also said a man called Sanjay Bajrangi had also been threatening him. He attached screenshots of WhatsApp messages sent by Bajrangi in his petition.

Thursday was the 22nd day of hearing in the case. Apart from Gogoi, the five-judge Constitution bench also comprises SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer.

The Ayodhya dispute has been going on for several decades, with both Hindu and Muslim groups claiming their right to the land. The Babri Masjid stood there before it was demolished in 1992 by Hindutva activists. In 2010, the Allahabad High Court had ordered the land to be divided in three equal parts between the Nirmohi Akhara, the Sunni Wakf Board and the representative for the deity Ram. A mediation effort by a court-appointed panel failed earlier this year, after which the Supreme Court began hearing the case on a daily basis.

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