Ayodhya case: SC to look into litigant’s complaint of intimidation

I was threatened with dire consequences, says Iqbal Ansari

Published - September 05, 2019 02:15 am 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

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to look into a complaint made by Iqbal Ansari, a litigant in the Ayodhya appeals, about an alleged instance of intimidation and attack on him.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan informed the Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi about the alleged incident which happened on Tuesday evening.

Mr. Dhavan said Mr. Ansari was accosted by a couple at his home in Faizabad. They told him to withdraw from the case or face dire consequences. The woman even introduced herself as an “international shooter”.

The lawyer, who presented the facts of the incident to the court before the day’s Ayodhya hearing began, said it was learnt that the Faizabad police had detained the couple. He said though he was not commenting on the nature of the probe the police may conduct, a “simple word” from the Supreme Court may prove enough to nudge the investigation on.

“We will look into it,” Mr. Gogoi replied.

The court had on September 3 issued notice to an 88-year-old Chennai-based man for allegedly intimidating Mr. Dhavan for representing the Muslim side in the Ayodhya title suit appeals. Mr. Dhavan had sought contempt proceedings to be initiated against N. Shanmugham, a retired government official. The senior lawyer, who appears for the Sunni Waqf board, had annexed a letter from Mr. Shanmugham with his petition.

Mr. Dhavan had said this was only one of the several instances of threats received by him for appearing in the case.

“It needs to be mentioned that the petitioner has been accosted both at home and in the court premises with intimidating behaviour by several persons,” he had said. He had also referred to several WhatsApp messages sent by a Sanjay Kalal Bajrangi and annexed screenshots of the messages in his petition.

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