Ayodhya Case : Supreme Court reserves verdict

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi

New Delhi, Oct 16: After immense dramatic moments of a Bollywood movie style on the last day of hearings in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case, the Supreme Court on Wednesday concluded the daily hearings in the politically sensitive case and reserved its judgement. The bench heard for 40 days the arguments in the decades-old temple-mosque dispute — the second longest proceedings in its history.

The Supreme Court later in the day issued a notice saying the bench will sit in chambers, where parties involved are not allowed, to conduct proceedings on the report of the mediation panel on Thursday.

The concluding day of the marathon hearing during which CJI Gogoi observed “enough is enough” was marked by high drama when Rajeev Dhavan, a senior counsel for the Muslim parties, tore a pictorial map provided by the Hindu Mahasabha.

The high voltage hearing in the dispute involving 2.77 acres of land is the second longest after the landmark Keshvanand Bharti case in 1973 during which the proceedings for propounding the doctrine of basic structure of the Constitution continued for 68 days.

Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan appearing for one of the Muslim parties in Ayodhya case tore down papers,maps handed over to him by counsel of All India Hindu Mahasabha. Dhavan was objecting to All India Hindu Mahasabha’s counsel trying to place publication by K Kishore.

Relentless interruptions infuriated the judges.

I followed CJI orders , says Advocate after act of tearing map in court gets viral

Rajeev Dhavan, representing the Muslim Waqf Board in the title suit, tore up a pictorial map showing the Ram Janmasthan. “Can I have your permission to tear it,” Dhavan said to the judges. He acted after Vikas Singh, the lawyer for the All India Hindu Mahasabha, tried to place a publication by Kunal Kishore as evidence during his arguments claiming ownership of the disputed land in the temple town in Uttar Pradesh.

Rajeev Dhavan calls PN Mishra’s argument “next to foolish” and says that the senior advocate does not anything about land revenue. Justice Chandrachud reprimands Dhavan and asks him not to make personal comments.

2:48 pm (IST)
CJI Ranjan Gogoi sarcastically replies to senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan saying that “Dr Dhavan is right…the chief justice said so he tore it up.” Justice Abdul Nazeer notes that the incident is now being reported widely.

Dhavan: The #CJI said I could shred the papers & I just followed the order. I take advice of Mr (Arvind) Datar in such matters, & he told me it was a mandamus. #CJI (sarcastically): Dr Dhavan is right..the chief justice said so he torn up..

“The Supreme Court should not rely on this book,” Mr Dhavan said, requesting permission to tear it up.

“You do what you want,” replied Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. “You can shred it further,” he then said.

After the pages were torn, interruptions from both sides and the commotion angered the judges.

“Decorum has been spoiled, decorum is not maintained. If proceedings continue in this manner, we would just get up and walk out,” said the Chief Justice.

Oct 16, 2019
Reacting to the issue of him tearing up the papers and maps of the Hindu Mahasabha, Rajeev Dhavan in court says, “The CJI said I could shred the papers and I just followed the order. I take advice of Mr (Arvind) Datar in such matters, and he told me it was a mandamus.”

2:41 pm (IST)
“Have they been honest enough to bring honest facts before the court,” Rajeev Dhavan questions the Hindu Mahasabha’s narrative saying that there are eight factions and now four distinct submissions in the case.

2:39 pm (IST)
The Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan commences his final arguments by saying that he will address the issues of the opposing sides point-by-point. Justice SA Nazeer says that one of the questions also pertains to the competency of the Sunni Waqf Board to maintain the suit.

Senior Advocate PN Mishra, who is arguing for one of the Hindu parties : As he continues to argue on the chronology of historical events to prove the Hindu parties’ side in the case. Justice DY Chandrachud requests him to submit specifically on points of limitation. “We are now on the real essence of the matter,” says the judge.

2:25 pm (IST)
— the Punaruddhar Samiti — refers to ‘Baburnama’ that mentions Babur followed Islam. This, Mishra says, demolishes the claim by the Muslim side that Babur was a ruler and wasn’t bound by any law or rules.

2:15 pm (IST)
The Supreme Court bench has reassembled to hear the Ayodhya case, The top court tells Subramiam Swamy that he will not longer get a chance to argue in the matter and that his petition has been de-tagged.

2:11 pm (IST)
Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi has criticised Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan saying that tearing up papers given as evidence in the Supreme Court is not befitting a lawyer. “A lawyer’s job is to put his best case forward and demonstrate presentation skills. This is unacceptable.” he tweeted.

1:41 pm (IST)
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad refuses to comment over the proceedings saying that it is not appropriate for him to speak as he is the law minister.

1:34 pm (IST)
All India Babri Masjid Action Committee (AIBMAC)’s convener Zafaryab Jilani says that he doesn’t have any information about the withdrawal of Sunni Waqf Board’s appeal.

1:30 pm (IST)
Here’s a picture of the map, which was torn up by Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan (representing Muslim parties). The map is from the book ‘Ayodhya Revisited’ and shows the contentious spot.

After the Shia Waqf Board concludes its submissions, the Supreme Court Bench breaks for lunch. Rajeev Dhavan, who is representing the Muslim side, will get an hour for his arguments after the break.

1:15 pm (IST)
Senior Advocate Sushil Kumar Jain, representing the Nirmohi Akhara, asks for 1.5 hours for his argument but is asked to wrap up by 1 PM. “We don’t have that kind of time left,” Gogoi says.

1:11 pm (IST)
Representing the Hindu Mahasabha, Vikas Singh cites the Government of India Act, 1858 and argues that since the Sunni Waqf Board was itself abolished by the Act there is no question of the British government granting it rights for Babri Masjid’s upkeep.

1:06 pm (IST)
Senior Advocate representing Hindu Mahasabha seeks to place the book ‘Ayodhya Revisited’ by former IPS Kishore Kunal, which talked about the pre-existence of a Ram temple on the site. Dhavan, however, objects to the Supreme Court’s decision to take it on record. The CJI, however, asks Singh if he can keep the book to which advocate replied in the affirmative. “I will start reading it now and will keep reading it in November and after that…will you also sign it for me?”

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