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[Ayodhya Hearing] [Day 19] Waqf Board Says It Doesn't Object To 'Co-Existence' And Prayers By Hindus; But Asserts Title Over Mosque

Nilashish Chaudhary
4 Sep 2019 1:29 PM GMT
[Ayodhya Hearing] [Day 19] Waqf Board Says It Doesnt Object To Co-Existence And Prayers By Hindus; But Asserts Title Over Mosque
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"By 1858 India was full of places side by side...Coexistence is fine, we may coexist. But I claim title of the whole mosque. If someone wishes to pray there, we have no problem with that, but what we claim is title", submitted Dhavan.
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Day 19 of the Ayodhya hearing began with Sr Adv Dr Rajeev Dhavan informing the constitution bench that litigant Iqbal Ansari, son of Mohd Hashim, was attacked by a man-woman duo, despite security, on Tuesday. "I cannot say whether this requires an investigation, but at times just a simple word from this court is enough", said Dhavan. The bench assured that they would look into it and do whatever was required. Dhavan added that he was not blaming 'the other side' and said he had good relations with them, however he did assert that he can't keep filing contempt Petitions everyday.

Moving on to his arguments on behalf of the Sunni Waqf Board, Dhavan focused on Nirmohi Akhara's pleadings to state that all they were entitled to were rights of management and charge. They're fighting for existence as shebaits, but even then, they are out of the case. On being asked by Justice Abdul Nazeer on whether he's disputing Nirmohi Akhara's Shebait rights, Dhavan said he was not.

Justice Ashok Bhushan then said if they accept that, then effectively they accept Nirmohi Akhara has rights to a portion of the land.

The question, countered the counsel for the Waqf Board, was what rights did they have and to which part. With their juristic status as shebait, they were entitled to management rights only. That too, management rights of the Ram chabutara, in the outer courtyard, and not the inner courtyard.

When J DY Chandrachud pointed out that the relief sought is for both the inner and outer courtyard, Dhavan submitted that in 1885 they had sought their right to pray, easement rights, and not title.

Dr. Dhavan went on to speak on the applicability of Qur'anic law to a Masjid and said it was accepted in India so it couldn't be ignored. This is when it was submitted that it was only on the narrow question of title that the Waqf board was staking a claim, and coexistence was never an issue.

"By 1858 India was full of places side by side...Coexistence is fine, we may coexist. But I claim title of the whole mosque. If someone wishes to pray there, we have no problem with that, but what we claim is title", submitted Dhavan.

Going through Nirmohi Akhara's pleadings, the counsel drew conclusions to suggest that Hindus were worshiping in the Ram chabutara, in the outer courtyard initially but the idol was later moved to the inner courtyard in the central dome and there were no averments that the central dome is where they claim is the Janmasthan. He derived further conclusions that their claim is against the State and Section 145 proceedings and despite being held that they weren't entitled to relief, they were still granted rights over the outer courtyard.

Dhavan claimed there were discrepancies in Akhara's claims where initially they called the word janamsthan meaningless, yet later on accepted the same as a juridical entity. Similarly, Raghubar Das, a Mahant, was initially disowned and then accepted. Finally he concluded that Nirmohi Akhara was a trustee and not an owner.

The Sunni Waqf board counsel used the rest of the day taking the bench through the exhibits submitted by Nirmohi Akhara to persuade the court that all of them indicated towards land outside the disputed site, which did not pertain to their case at all

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