Senior lawyer Rajeev Dhavan, who represented the Sunni Waqf Board and other Muslim parties in the Ayodhya case in Supreme Court, on Tuesday said he has been sacked from the case.
“Just been sacked from the Babri case by AOR [advocate on record] Ejaz Maqbool, who was representing the Jamiat,” Dhavan wrote in a Facebook post. “Have sent formal letter accepting the ‘sacking’ without demur. No longer involved in the review or the case.”
Though some reports suggested that Dhavan was removed because he was unwell, both he and Maqbool refuted them. “Issue is that my client [Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind] wanted to file the review petition yesterday [Monday],” Maqbool told ANI. “It was to be settled by Mr Rajeev Dhavan. I could not give his name in the petition because he was not available. It is not a big issue.”
Dhavan said he had been informed that Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind’s chief Maulana Arshad Madani had indicated that he had been removed because of health problems. “This is total nonsense,” added the lawyer. “He has a right to instruct his lawyer AOR Ejaz Maqbool to sack me which he did on instructions. But the reason being floated is malicious and untrue.”
Maulana Syed Ashhad Rashidi, the legal heir of original litigant M Siddiq, filed the Jamiat’s petition in the top court on Monday. Arshad Madani said the majority of Muslims wanted the review petition to be filed. The court’s verdict was not based on “evidence and logic”, he added.
“The court has given us this right and the review must be filed,” Madani said. “The main contention in the case was that the mosque was built by destructing a temple. The court said that there was no evidence that the mosque was built after destructing a temple, the title of Muslims therefore was proven, but the final verdict was the opposite. So we are filing a review as the verdict is beyond understanding.”
On September 3, the Supreme Court had issued a notice to two people for allegedly threatening Dhavan. The lawyer said a man named Sanjay Bajrangi had been threatening him. In his petition, Dhavan attached screenshots of WhatsApp messages Bajrangi had sent. Dhavan said in his petition that he had been accosted both at his home and in the court premises and had been intimidated by several people. An 88-year-old professor in Chennai also threatened the lawyer, but the top court closed the contempt case against him after he apologised.