Ayodhya case: Nirmohi Akhara drops objection

Updated - August 30, 2019 10:19 pm IST

Published - August 27, 2019 10:27 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A view of the Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi. File

A view of the Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi. File

Nirmohi Akhara told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that it is not opposed to a separate suit for title filed by the minor Ayodhya deity for the disputed Ramjanmabhumi.

The Akhara has been facing questions from the Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on its claim over the property, saying it directly challenged the separate claim of the deity, Ram Lalla, filed in a suit through the latter’s next friend.

“In response to what had fallen from Your Lordships yesterday, the stand of ‘Nirmohi Akahara’ is that it will not press the issue of maintainability of suit number 5 [filed by the deity through its next friend Deoki Nandan Agrawal] provided that they [lawyers for the deity] also do not dispute ‘shebait’ right of ‘Akahara’,” senior advocate Sushil Jain for the Akhara submitted.

The Bench, also comprising Justices S.A. Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S.A. Nazeer, has been critical of the persistent stand taken by Mr. Jain that the suit of the deity is not maintainable as the Akhara alone has the right as ‘shebait’ to institute the law suit on behalf of the deity.

On August 23, the court asked Nirmohi Akhara whether it could have rights on the Ramjanmabhumi at variance with or independent of the rights of Ayodhya’s infant deity.

The Constitution Bench was responding to submissions made by Nirmohi Akhara that it was the shebait of the deity, entrusted to protect the interests of the infant Ram Lalla.

Nirmohi Akhara was given one third of the possession of the disputed land by the Allahabad High Court in September 2010. The court pointed out that the Akhara’s claim in the apex court for exclusive possession of the disputed land was at cross-purposes with the deity’s separate suit for exclusive title over the Ramjanmabhumi.

The Bench said the Akhara has no independent claim. If the suit of the deity for the land is dismissed, the shebait’s claim also does not survive.

“Claim of the shebait can never be adverse to the deity. But if you are contesting suit five [suit filed by the deity for title], then you are going against the title of the deity. So, as a shebait, you are asking to dismiss the suit of the deity?” Justice Chandrachud had asked.

Over the past 10 days of arguments, lawyers for the Ayodhya deity have been contending that the disputed Ramjanmabhumi is itself a deity and could not have been partitioned.

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