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[Ayodhya Hearing] [Day 11] : 'Claim Of Devotee Cannot Be Adverse To Deity', SC Tells Nirmohi Akhara

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
24 Aug 2019 3:25 AM GMT
[Ayodhya Hearing] [Day 11] : Claim Of Devotee Cannot Be Adverse To Deity, SC Tells Nirmohi Akhara
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The day 11 of Ayodhya hearing witnessed an curious turn with the Hindu body 'Nirmohi Akhara', which claims to be manager of the deity's property, taking a stance against the suit filed on behalf of 'Ram Lalla', the deity.Senior Advocate S K Jain, appearing for the Akhara, put forth a claim for exclusive possession of the entire property. The Akhara has been in possession of the property...

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The day 11 of Ayodhya hearing witnessed an curious turn with the Hindu body 'Nirmohi Akhara', which claims to be manager of the deity's property, taking a stance against the suit filed on behalf of 'Ram Lalla', the deity.

Senior Advocate S K Jain, appearing for the Akhara, put forth a claim for exclusive possession of the entire property.  The Akhara has been in possession of the property for long, and had filed the suit in 1959, thirty years before the suit filed on behalf of the deity, submitted Jain.

But the Constitution Bench presided by CJI Ranjan Gogoi questioned Jain about the legal tenability of the claim by 'shebait' against the deity.

"The claim of the shebait(manager) can never be adverse to the deity. If you are contesting Suit 5(filed by deity), then you are going against the title of the deity. So, as a shebait, you are asking to dismiss the suit of the deity. Suppose suit 5 is dismissed, you have no independent claim.  You can't survive if the deity doesn't survive", observed Justice Chandrachud.

"There are SC judgments which say that possession of temple endowement can be given only to the shebait and not to the next friend of the deity", Jain said in reply.

Justice Bobde then asked the Akhara to clear whether it was taking a position "contrary to the deity".  

Jain explained to the court that the plea of the deity (Ram Lalla) was made in 1989 but the Akhara has been in possession of the place since 1934. "I have taken a plea that decree in interest of deity can only be given in shebait's favour," he said.

The birth place of Lord Ram is not a "juridical person" as claimed and the Akhara is entitled to take the plea, Jain asserted.

The bench said the Akhara has so far argued to contrary to the case built by it in the High court and asked Jain to refer to documents to "build the case on merits".

 Jain said the Akhara was not claiming the title right of the property, but claiming its possession and the right to manage as a devotee.

In response to a pointed query whether it had any documentary evidence in support of its right as 'shebait', Jain said, "I have oral evidence (of witnesses) which has not been denied by others" and read out statements to indicate it had been managing the disputed site.

He also said the Akhara lost the records in a dacoity.

The bench then pointed out from the records that they said the Akhara had been performing worship at the 'Ram Chabutra'. Jain said it meant the 'Ram Chabutra temple'.

"It is not so... You have made a distinction between disputed temple and Ram Chabutra," the bench said.

On the submissions of the lawyer that the oral statements have not been properly recorded, the bench said, "These are not testimonies given in the witness box. They are affidavits which are prepared by proper application of mind".

Jain said the Akhara was "poor" as it lost offerings including money after its possession over the outer courtyard of disputed structure in 1982 was taken away and then in 1992, the entire structure was demolished.

The bench would resume hearing on August 26.

 (With PTI inputs)

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