Muslim parties ask SC: Why all questions directed at us?

Supreme Court Collegium and RM Lodha

NEW DELHI: After 38 days of arguments on cross-appeals for ownership of the 2.77 acre Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid disputed land in Ayodhya, the Muslim parties suggested there was a bias against them by telling the Supreme Court that the five-judge bench had directed all questions at them while none were put to Hindu parties.

With three more days to go before arguments conclude, a bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer raised questions on the claim of Muslim parties for full ownership over the disputed land as they argued that Hindu parties had never sought ownership over the mosque from 1885 till 1989, when the deity through next friend filed a suit.

Justice Chandrachud asked what was the implication of Hindus continuously worshipping in the mosque’s outer courtyard and whether it would amount to Muslim parties ceding ownership right. Appearing for Muslim parties, advocate Rajeev Dhavan argued that Hindus were given only prescriptive right to worship in the outer courtyard and that could never amount to ceding title of any part of the mosque to them.

When the judge put another question about iron railings being erected inside the mosque to segregate worship areas of Hindus and Muslims, an irked Dhavan said, “What I like about this hearing is that all questions are directed at us (Muslim parties) and none to them (Hindu parties).”

Taken aback, Justice Chandrachud said Dhavan’s remark was “completely unwarranted”. But Dhavan retorted, “It is not unwarranted though I am duty bound to answer the questions put by the bench.”

Dhavan may not have been correct in casting aspersions at the bench as the judges had repeatedly questioned propositions and arguments of advocates K Parasaran, C S Vaidyanathan and P N Mishra, who appeared for Hindu parties, and advocate Sushil Jain, who appeared for Nirmohi Akhara.

Source: Times of India


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