Nirmohi Akhara quizzed on rights to Ayodhya site

Supreme Court asks if it can differ from that of the infant Ram Lalla.

Updated - August 24, 2019 02:48 am IST

Published - August 24, 2019 02:46 am IST - NEW DELHI

Supreme Court of India. File

Supreme Court of India. File

The Supreme Court on Friday asked Nirmohi Akhara whether it can have rights on the Ramjanmabhoomi at variance with or independent of the rights of Ayodhya’s infant deity.

The Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi 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 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 Ramjanmabhoomi. The Bench said the Akhara has no independent claim. If the suit of the deity for the land is dismissed, the shebait’s claim 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 said.

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 said if there was once a temple on the Ramjanmabhoomi and people were worshipping there as the birthplace, nobody could possibly claim ownership by adverse possession. He had said on Wednesday that the 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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