Can birthplace be considered a ‘juristic person’, asks SC

Hearing continues on the third day on Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case

Updated - August 08, 2019 10:46 pm IST

Published - August 08, 2019 10:45 pm IST - New Delhi

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. File

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. File

On the third day of the hearing on Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute, the Supreme Court on Thursday queried whether the birth place or ‘Janmasthan’ can be regarded as a ‘juristic person’.

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi made the query to ‘Ram Lalla Virajman’, one of the parties in the case.

Legal rights

The Bench said that as per Indian law, Hindu deities had been treated as ‘juristic person’ which could hold properties and initiate litigation, but queried how ‘Janmasthan’ came to acquire similar rights.

The Bench, also comprising Justices S.A. Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S.A. Nazeer asked senior advocate K. Parasaran, representing Ram Lalla Virajman, if the source of worship could be a benchmark for deciding whether it was a ‘juristic person’.

Place of worship

Mr. Parasaran said that in Hindu religion, idols were not necessary for a place to be regarded as a holy place of worship.

“Rivers are worshipped. Sun is not an idol but is also worshipped as deity,” Mr. Parasaran said, adding birth place in itself could be treated as a ‘juristic person’.

The top court referred to a 2017 verdict of the Uttarakhand High Court according the status of ‘living human entities’ to the Ganga and Yamuna river.

The argument would continue on Friday in the Ramjanmabhumi cross-appeals filed by Hindus and Muslims contesting each other’s claims of ownership over the 2.77 acres in Ayodhya where Hindus believe Lord Ram was born in Tretha Yuga. The structure, Babri Masjid, which stood on the disputed land was demolished by ‘kar sevaks’ on December 6, 1992.

HC’s vain bid

The Allahabad High Court attempted to resolve the decades-old dispute by giving joint possession of the disputed land to both Hindus and Muslims in a three-way partition among the deity, Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Waqf Board in September 2010. But the parties responded by filing cross-appeals in the apex court.

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