Counsel for Mosque Argues Ayodhya Case cannot be Adjudicated by Vedic Law

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Supreme Court of India.

Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI – Commencing their arguments in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit case being heard in the Supreme Court, the Muslim parties’ counsels on Monday forcefully dispelled the misgivings and confusion created by the counsels representing Hindu parties. They argued that the case will be adjudicated on the basis of the present law of the land, not on the basis of Vedic laws as pleaded by Hindu parties.

The hearing in the case is on in the Supreme Court since August 6, 2019. After the arguments on behalf of the Hindu parties to the case concluded on Saturday, counsels for Muslim parties started their argument.

Appearing for All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, Senior Advocate Rajiv Dhavan first countered the argument of Advocate Hari Shankar Jain, counsel of the Hindu parties who suggested that the case should be decided in accordance with the Vedic laws. He asked the five-judge bench, “What is the law that Your Lordships has inherited? The law we follow is not Vedic law. Your Lordships’ legal system starts in 1858.”

“Let me start with the issue of what law this Court should apply? Should we apply Vedas, Skand Puran?” he asked, adding, “Parikrama is a form of worship, not evidence”.

The Hindu temple in Ayodhya was “destroyed” to construct a mosque at the “disputed site”, said advocate for Ram Lalla Virajman, one of the parties in the politically-sensitive Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case, while referring to an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report.

Countering this, Dhavan said, “What is the degree of reliance that we can place on historians.” He argued that none of those from the other side (Hindu parties) referred to facts of the cases they cited except Ranjit Kumar.

Continuing his arguments, Dhavan asked the bench from where he had to start, either from 1858 or to 1528?

“If Your Lordships want me to go back to 1528, I can show document after document to prove that a mosque existed there,” Dhavan said.

Discarding the invasion arguments, he said, “They spoke about this invasion and that invasion. I don’t want to go into that. If Babur was invader, then Aryans too were invaders?”

“As far as a title suit of civil nature is concerned, there is no room for historical claims,” Dhavan read out from the verdict on Karnataka Waqf Board case of 2004 and added that non-use of property by the owner for a long time won’t affect his title right. He also pointed out that Justice Agarwal of Allahabad HC decided to give his judgment on the basis of conjectures and preponderance of probabilities.

“The entire secular structure of our constitution will disappear if we try balancing act between apples and oranges,” Dhavan.

Countering Hindu parties’ argument that they were firmly of the view that there existed a temple because a peacock or lotus found there (Masjid), Dhavan said the presence of these images does not mean there was a massive structure before the mosque was built.

To the argument of the Hindu parties that travellers of that time did not mention about the mosque, the senior advocate said, “Can negative inferences be made on that basis. Marco Polo did not mention about Great Wall of China.”

He also criticised the question formulated for the ASI as to whether there was a temple which was demolished for construction of mosque.

At one point, he made it clear that the Mohammedan law relating to trusts fundamentally differs from the English law. Under the Mohammedan, once it is declared that a particular property is Waqf/dedicated (to the Waqf), ownership is transferred to the Almighty.

Reciting Sanskrit verses and praising the beauty of Sanskrit language, he said he was not saying that idol worship is not important while rebutting arguments of Hindu parties on ‘Swayambhu’.

Smashing other arguments of the Hindu parties, Muslim Board counsel said in 1934, the Mosque was damaged and in 1949, trespass was committed and in 1992 it was brought down.

Responding to arguments by the Hindu parties on Article 13, Dhavan relied on the Constituent Assembly debates on Preamble and secularism in the constitution.

Arguing on whether the site is ‘res nullius’, Dhavan said, “No temple or monastic institution existed during Vedic age; there was no idol worship during Vedic times. One view is that these institutions came into existence during Buddhist period; but (it’s) difficult to say exactly when idol worship started.”

He also said Ramayana was a mythological text while Mahabharata is a history book.

Dhavan, whose arguments were peppered with trivia on history, language etc. will continue his defend the case of the mosque before the bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer on Tuesday.

The bench also agreed to hear his contempt plea, where he claimed that he had been threatened for taking up the matter, on Tuesday.

Muslim Board general secretary Maulana Wali Rahmani expressed satisfaction over the progress of the case. It may be mentioned here that hearings in the case commenced on August 6, with arguments being made on behalf of the Nirmohi Akhara. In the following hearings, submissions were also made on behalf of the deity, Ram Lalla, and the Ram Janmabhoomi Punaruddhar Samiti.

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