We’re in no hurry to finish Ayodhya hearing, says SC

We have all the time: Ranjan Gogoi

Updated - November 28, 2021 10:27 am IST

Published - August 13, 2019 08:59 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi.

A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi.

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, heading the Constitution Bench hearing the Ayodhya appeals, on Tuesday said the Supreme Court was in no hurry to finish the hearings and had all the time.

He said the arguing lawyers on both sides of the religious divide can raise their arguments as and how they like, no matter how long they take.

The CJI’s words signify the importance the court is giving the Ayodhya appeals. These appeals had previously been pending unheard in the court for the past nine years. The Bench is now hearing them five days a week, morning till evening. The CJI will retire in November.

The CJI’s clarification came after senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, for Muslim parties, complained that the court was allowing the Hindu side to argue for days without producing a shred of evidence or exhibit to fortify their claim over Ramjanmabhumi.


Mr. Dhavan, in his characteristic style, described the ongoing submissions of senior advocate C.S. Vaidyanathan, for some of the Hindu parties, as sheer “hop, skip and jump”.

Mr. Vaidynathan, at the point when Mr. Dhavan rose to voice his displeasure, was reading certain paragraphs of P. Carnegie’s historic sketches describing the enduring religious importance of Ayodhya to the Hindus.

The CJI had also, from time to time, asked Mr. Vaidynathan to read some select paragraphs.

Mr. Dhavan protested that the sketches should be read in its entirety and not selectively. He said what was being done was a “hop, skip and jump”. He said not a single exhibit or evidence had been placed so far by the Hindu side to buttress their claims of ownership over the disputed Ramjanmabhumi land.

At one point, the CJI warned Mr. Dhavan that “this is going a bit too far” and had been happening since day one of the case. The Chief Justice said Mr. Dhavan can read through the entire text of exhibits and evidence if required and the court would fully cooperate.


“If he [Mr. Vaidyanathan] has not placed any exhibit or evidence, that is his weak point,” Chief Justice Gogoi told Mr. Dhavan.

During the day, Mr. Vaidyanathan countered the futility of a three-way partition and joint possession of Ramjanmabhumi among the Nirmohi Akhara, Ram Lalla Virajman and the Sunni Waqf Board by the Allahabad High Court in 2010.

“The place [Ram Janmabhumi] itself is the deity. It is a juristic person. It does not have an owner. So there cannot be a joint possession of a deity.

There cannot be destruction or division or alienation of the deity. Even the property of a deity cannot be partitioned. So, if a deity’s property cannot be divided, the deity itself cannot be divided...

If a place is a deity, it continues to be so forever more. A deity cannot be mutilated,” Mr. Vaidyanathan argued.

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud questioned the “world view” of many Hindus presented by Mr. Vaidyanathan with another.


“There are two views coming across — one, as you say, the place itself personifies god. The other that the Janmabhumi is a place of worship. How do you balance both views?” he asked.

Mr. Vaidynathan replied by emphasising on the “unshakeable faith and belief” of the Hindus that the place is holy.

“The place of birth of Lord Ram has become a deity by the faith of the people. The three-domed Babri mosque coming up in 1500s did not shake their faith in the sanctity and dignity of the Hindus’ faith. Besides, the Hindus’ right of faith was never taken away...”

He said the mere fact that a mosque was put up would not make Ramjanmabhumi less of a deity. Even if some people come to pray (at the mosque) they cannot claim title over the deity.

“The mosque was built during the Islamic rule. Hindus could not build a structure then. But the moment they got an opportunity they put up a structure and worshipped,” the senior lawyer argued.

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