Ayodhya hearing: Hindu side arguments based on theology rather than legality, concrete proof, says counsel

Updated - December 03, 2021 08:12 am IST

Published - September 17, 2019 08:32 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A view of the Supreme Court in New Delhi.

A view of the Supreme Court in New Delhi.

Lotus carvings on Kasauti pillars, figurines, Garuda flanked by two lions and a Dwarapal are not typical features of a mosque, the Supreme Court confronted the Muslim side in the Ayodhya hearing on Tuesday.

The questions from the Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi was based on architectural features and photographs of materials believed to be unearthed from the Babri Masjid- Ramjanmabhumi site.

But senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan countered the court’s questions, saying the “decorative pieces could have come from anywhere”. These objects and photographs of carvings did not provide a conclusive proof that there was once a temple dedicated to a particular deity - Lord Ram. “There is no direct evidence of an image of a God in Ramjanmabhumi,” he argued.

Mr. Dhavan said the Hindu side's argument of a temple of Lord Ram drew strength from the impression that mosques should be simple, unadorned. Mr. Dhavan said the Hindu side arguments were based on theology rather than legality and concrete proof.

“The theological argument raised here is just because they see some flowers, a lotus, this place is unIslamic and the mosque is not a mosque. It is too much to say that Islam is out, mosque is out just because you see a few figurines, flowers, etc. It is a little too rich to say a mosque is not mosque and prayer offered was not prayer,” he argued.

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud suggested the presence of these material objects, which were either found at the site of the mosque or formed part of the Babri Masjid's architecture, may have been due to cultural assimilation. “Cultural assimilations occur after invasions. We see how certain religions are practised differently in different countries,” Justice Chandrachud pointed out.

Latching on to that, Mr. Dhavan said “mosques were not built by Muslims alone... Taj Mahal was not built by Muslims alone. Both Hindu and Muslim labourers joined hands”.

“Just because there is cross near a temple in Kerala, it does not mean the temple stops being a temple,” Mr. Dhavan highlighted how places of worship of different religions coexist in physical proximity.

He said pillars would have either been found lying around at the time of the construction of the mosque or were found broken and fixed to be used for the mosque, or they were brought to the site from other places.

The presence of these objects did not make Babri mosque “unIslamic or un-Quranic”. “You cannot use them to claim Muslims were not praying to Allah there but to some other god,” Mr. Dhavan said.

Justice S.A. Bobde asked whether there was any witness to back their claim that these materials and carvings were a result of cultural assimilation.

Mr. Dhavan replied,“Assimilation is there for My Lord to see. There is a chhabutra outside and a mosque inside. The British had allowed both for the sake of peace.”

"Is there evidence to show that such images and carvings were part of mosques?" Justice Bobde asked.

Mr. Dhavan said evidence of assimilation could be found even in the "Qutub area where the Minar is" in the National Capital.

He said the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report on the dig at Ramjanmabhumi contained a fair dose of "fantasy".

"What was found was mere basin in different levels each level was a different epox of history dating back to the Gupta period. They (Hindu parties) said there were columns rising out of these basins, but these were just projections. How can they claim there was a religious structure there once?" Mr. Dhavan asked.

On recognising Ramjanmabhumi as a juristic person, Justice Chandrachud reasoned that "the life of a deity encompasses events which took place in various places. It is difficult to consider every such place a juristic person. Where do you draw the line?".

"If you draw the line on subjectivity alone, it become difficult," Mr. Dhavan agreed.

He said none of the religious give the exact place of birth of Lord Ram.

"Today, there are three spots in Ayodhya claimed to be the exact spot. From December 1949, it is Ramjanmabhumi. In 1857, it was Ram Chhabutra in the outer courtyard. The Janmsthan site Rasoi Mandir outside the premises was considered the exact spot from time immemorial," Mr. Dhavan submitted.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.