‘Hindus have right to worship at Ayodhya’

Plea says site had a temple in the past

Updated - August 30, 2019 09:57 pm IST

Published - August 22, 2019 10:39 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Supreme Court of India.

Supreme Court of India.

Gopal Singh Visharad, one of the appellants in the Ayodhya case, said Hindus have an “unfettered” right to worship at a site believed for centuries to be the birthplace of Lord Ram.

Appearing before a Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, for Visharad, claimed there were affidavits from the Muslim side saying a temple was demolished to build the Babri mosque in the 16th century. Mr. Kumar said the faith of the Hindus survived despite the construction of the mosque at the Ramjanmabhoomi.

The court has been urging the Hindu parties to not delve further on the aspect of faith, which no one has put to question or challenged, but focus their submissions to present proof that this was the exact spot where Lord Ram was born.

The court asked Mr. Kumar whether the persons who gave affidavits vouching for the demolition of a temple for the mosque was subject to cross-examination. Mr. Kumar replied in the negative, but added that nobody has contradicted their statement so far.

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

Senior advocate C.S. Vaidynathan, for the deity, had contended that if there was once a temple on the Ramjanmabhoomi and people were worshipping there as the birthplace, then nobody could possibly claim ownership by adverse possession. He had said on Wednesday that the Ayodhya deity was a perpetual minor. The property of a minor cannot be dealt with, sold or alienated. He had questioned how the Allahabad High Court, in its verdict in September 2010, could have handed over the property of the minor Ayodhya deity to others.

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