The Hindu parties in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that they had made no submission that could disturb communal harmony and peace, PTI reported. However, they claimed that the arguments of the opposing party were of a communal character.

The Hindu parties also submitted that the Muslim litigants in the case made “unwarranted” and “unfortunate” claims that the report of the Archaeological Survey of India should be trashed, and that the wall it had excavated from the Ayodhya site was that of an Idgah.

The Allahabad High Court had commissioned the ASI excavation of the disputed area. The archaeologists reported traces of a large structure that existed before the Babri Masjid. The Hindus claim that the findings give credence to their claim that it is the birthplace of Ram. On September 27, the Supreme Court said the ASI’s findings were “not an ordinary opinion”. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said the inferences from the ASI report were drawn by “cultivated and studied minds”.

“It is unfortunate that the [Sunni] Waqf Board characterised the Allahabad High Court judgement as an ‘informed guess’,” CS Vaidyanathan, the senior lawyer for the deity Ram Lalla, told the court on Tuesday. In response, Rajeev Dhavan, the counsel for the Muslim parties, retorted: “I have not characterised, but the judges themselves have characterised it as an informed guess. We avoid submissions that could lead to communal divide.”

Gogoi and the rest of the bench expressed consternation over the repeated interjections by Dhavan in the submissions made by the Hindu parties. “It is not possible to continue the hearing like this,” Gogoi said. “The impression has been given that the people sitting this side do not apply their mind and the same thing is being argued time and again.” Following the court’s observation, Dhavan apologised and said the Muslim parties were merely taken aback by Vaidyanathan’s claims.

Advocate K Parasaran, appearing for the deity, argued that both the deity and his birthplace can be accorded the juristic status capable of holding properties and instituting lawsuits. “A consecrated idol is not the only form in which the deity is believed to manifest itself,” he said. “The deity may be believed to manifest himself in any form, physical or perceived. Such form need not necessarily only be a movable object.”

“The devotees pray to Lord Ram at the Janmasthan and the question is whether both can have the juristic status,” the bench replied.

Vaidyanathan said the disputed property is the place of birth of Ram and has been treated as sacred and “impressed with divinity and has been worshipped as such by the Hindus from time immemorial”. He argued that during Mughal rule, the temple was destroyed and a mosque built, but this did not affect the divine character of the place.

Vaidyanathan said the Muslim parties had initially taken a stand that there was no structure standing at the place when the mosque was built on it, but had now claimed that the destroyed structure was an Idgah, in the face of “irrefutable” archaeological evidence. The present stand of the Muslim parties is tantamount to saying that that the Mughals demolished an Idgah to put up a mosque on its ruins, Vaidyanathan added.

In another submission, Vaidyanathan also said that the deity will not participate in fresh mediation proceedings alongside the hearings to resolve the Ayodhya dispute, the Hindustan Times reported. The Supreme Court had begun to hear the matter on a daily basis after mediation efforts failed.

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