Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Tuesday said proceedings in the Ayodhya land dispute case would end on Wednesday, ANI reported. “Today is 39th day,” Gogoi said. “Tomorrow is 40th day and last day of hearing in the case.”
Earlier this month, the top court had asked the parties in the case to conclude arguments by October 17.
On Tuesday, a Hindu litigant in the case said Mughal emperor Babur committed a “historical wrong” by building the Babri Masjid at Hindu deity Ram’s birthplace, PTI reported. The counsel of the Hindu parties said Muslims can offer prayers at multiple mosques in the town while Hindus cannot change Ram’s birthplace.
“They say, once a mosque always a mosque, do you support this?” the bench asked senior lawyer K Parasaran, who is representing the deity. The lawyer responded by saying he did not agree with the statement, and added: “I will say once a temple always a temple.”
Parasaran added that Hindus had been fighting for centuries for the birthplace of Ram. He claimed that foreigners such Mughals, Portuguese, French and Britishers came to India to plunder it, and led this country to poverty. “The burden of proof is on Muslim parties to show that this finding, that the mosque was built on land held sacred by Hindus, is wrong,” he said. “Even where a case is decided in favour of a party, he can attack findings adverse to him in the appeal filed by the other party.”
The top court said the Muslim parties had argued that they can ask for a decree of declaration for the site even if the building no longer exists. After the bench posed a series of queries to the deity’s counsel, Gogoi asked the Muslim parties’ advocate Rajeev Dhavan if sufficient number of questions were asked to the Hindu litigants.
“We are saying this on a lighter note,” Gogoi said, according to NDTV. “Not everything has to be taken seriously.” On Monday, Dhavan had alleged that most of the questions had been posed to their side and not the Hindu parties.
Earlier on Tuesday, Prasaran said no person, be it Hindu or Muslim, can claim exclusive ownership of the site since it is a public place of worship. Dhavan objected to the argument saying the conflict was between worshippers of different religions.
A five-judge Constitution bench, led by Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, has been hearing the case every day since August 6. The dispute is several decades old, 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 anticipation of the judgement, restrictive orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which bans the assembly of more than four people, were imposed in the temple town this week.
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