The Supreme Court on Monday said the faith of Hindus in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case would be difficult to question, PTI reported.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said during the day-long hearing that even Muslim witnesses had pointed that the disputed land was as sacred to Hindus as Mecca was for Muslims.

“It will be difficult to rebut the belief of the Hindus,” the bench, which also comprised SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, said.

At the start of the 29th day of hearing on Monday, the top court questioned advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing the Sunni Wakf Board, on whether the divinity and the “exact form” of an idol or a deity were necessary to hold that they had a “juristic personality”.

Dhavan argued that belief alone could not be the sole foundation to claim title and accord juristic status to the “janmasthan” (birthplace). He strongly pitched for granting respect to Ram and Allah in a diverse country like India. “If Lord Ram and Allah are not respected then this great nation will split apart,” the lawyer said.

Dhavan also objected the move to make the birthplace a party to the lawsuit filed on behalf of the deity Ram Lalla Viarajman for claiming juristic status for the sacred land. He said they were made party in the appeals with a sole aim to construct Ram temple and to ensure that legal impediments of limitation, adverse possession and acquisition do not come in the way.

“They just say Lord Ram was born here,” he said. “None of the contours of the area are mentioned anywhere in the plaint. The suit is thus merely a vehicle to destroy and build a temple. They have argued that all existing structures be demolished at Ram Janmabhoomi and a new Temple be constructed there.”

Dhavan added that there should be some kind of physical manifestation of a deity or an idol and questioned the top court on the “objective aspects” to support the claim.

The court, however, directed him to provide a list of deities or idols that have been granted status of juristic personalities. The lawyer in his response said he would have to write 18 research papers for the same.

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.

Now, follow and debate the day’s most significant stories on Scroll Exchange.