NEW DELHI: The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is hearing the Ram Janmabhumi-Babri Masjid title dispute case on a day-to-day basis. Today is the eleventh day of hearing in the case. The Ayodhya case is being heard by the Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer.
The hearing in the case had commenced on August 6 with arguments being made on behalf of the Nirmohi Akhara. In the following hearings, apart from the Nirmohi Akhara, submissions were also made on behalf of the deity Ram Lalla.
Below are live updates from today's hearing in the Ayodhya case:-
The counsel for the Nirmohi Akhara argued on two crucial aspects of the case -- that there had been a conspiracy since 1982 to dispossess the Akhara, and cited two witnesses who had established through their statements that it was wholly in-charge of the Ram temple.
Representing the Nirmohi Akhara, senior advocate Sushil Jain contended before a Constitution bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi that, since 1982, there has been a conspiracy against his client to dispossess them of the temple.
"Some original documentation establishing our possession on the inner and outer courtyard has been stolen and destroyed...As a `Shebait`, the temple belongs to me and my client has the full right on the temple in terms of its charge and management," Jain argued before the court.
Jain also told the court that the suit by other parties has been filed to encroach on the rights of the Akhara, leading, therefore, to its harassment.
"The idol of Ram Lalla (and other idols), as well as the `Asthal Janmabhumi` (inner and outer courtyard), was under the `Shebait` management, and the possession of the Janmabhumi temple was with the Nirmohi Akhara", said the Akhara`s written submission.
Justice DY Chandrachud, one of the judges on the Constitution bench, said when a person claims `Shebait, it means that person is entitled to the needs of the deity. "You (Akhara`s counsel) cannot survive if the deity claim is not maintained, as your main claim is for charge and management," he said.
The court also inquired from the Akhara`s counsel if it could take a position contrary to the position of deity, and was it not `Shebait` duty to protect the interest of the deity.
Jain insisted the temple belongs to the `Shebait`, as it has been looking after the deity faithfully and also had control over the management of the temple.
The written submission of the Akhara claimed that following the order of attachment, charge and possession of the inner courtyard, as well as the `pooja samagri`, were taken away by the court receiver on July 5, 1960, from the mahants and priests of Nirmohi Akhara.
"...and in furtherance of the interim orders, the sadhus of the Nirmohi Akhara were performing and continuing seva pooja as before", said the statement.
In support his arguments, Jain cited statements from two witnesses.
Bansidhar, who was aged 99 in 2004, recorded a statement stating he had been visiting the temple since 1930, and that the temple was under the management of the Nirmohi Akhara. A second witness -- Mahant Bhaskar Das, aged 75 in 2003, recorded his statement supporting the claim of Nirmohi Akhara.
Jain insisted that the property has been used and possessed exclusively by Hindus and no namaz has been performed at the site, at least since 1934.
The arguments will continue on Monday.
with IANS inputs