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[Ayodhya Hearing] [Day 35] : Hindu Parties Submit Reply Arguments On Juristic Personality And ASI Report

Nilashish Chaudhary
1 Oct 2019 2:14 PM GMT
[Ayodhya Hearing] [Day 35] : Hindu Parties Submit Reply Arguments On Juristic Personality And ASI Report
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Senior Advocate K Parasaran continued arguing his rejoinder on day 35 of the Ayodhya land dispute hearing by citing some shlokas from the Bhagvad Gita and reiterated that the birthplace place must be considered a juridical person. "If the people believe a place to have supernatural powers, it can be considered to a be a juristic person irrespective of the kind of manifestation of the divine."...

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Senior Advocate K Parasaran continued arguing his rejoinder on day 35 of the Ayodhya land dispute hearing by citing some shlokas from the Bhagvad Gita and reiterated that the birthplace place must be considered a juridical person. "If the people believe a place to have supernatural powers, it can be considered to a be a juristic person irrespective of the kind of manifestation of the divine." He submitted that all elements- air, water, earth, fire and space are worshipped. All directions are worshipped and it ends with worshipping the Earth.

Giving the example of Chidambaram temple, where there is no linga but just a curtain, he stated that "it's about Natraj". "When people visit, the curtain is lifted." As he continued to cite examples of other temples which don't have an idol, Rajeev Dhavan representating the Muslim side interjected to state that in each example cited, there was a temple. "It has manifested in the form of a temple." Parasaran responded by saying that a place of worship attended by the public with belief can be called a temple. A Temple, it was submitted, is a generic term used for place of worship.

Justice Ashok Bhushan then enquired whether there would be two juridical persons in this case, the Bhoomi as well as Lord Ram. "There can be more than two", replied Parasaran. Justice Bobde then pointed out that "usually there is something called predominant deity, though there would be others". "Though there is a predominant deity, we have the manifestation of that deity in many forms. We call court as temple of justice. We have many judges but we call the whole as one institution - court", came the veteran lawyer's response. J Chandrachud clarified J Bobde's point and asserted that though there may be multiple deities, the juristic personality is attributed to the predominant deity of the temple.

Rajeev Dhavan intervened to make his objections known. "This is an entirely new argument", he said and added that the matter is not about the nomenclature of the temple. He asserted that this would require him to give a note on these new aspects as there had to be arguments on proof backing their belief and worship. "Every argument is a new one. I can't understand their objection", retorted K Parasaran and made it clear that the court could have objections and question his submissions, but not Dhavan.

Parasaran went on to cite case law and submitted that in cases of charitable endowments, the court has granted the status of a juristic entity to land on previous occasions. J Bobde then asked whether that would be applicable to every temple in India. "We could go on a case by case basis", said Parasaran. The Constitution has the right to call a place a temple or mosque. During the time of Babur, sovereign was above everything. But its not the case now. You can decide whether the place is a temple or not, he added. J Bobde advised caution regarding this argument and said, "consider the ramifications of considering this argument. You say ascribe divine character to land as there's a belief that an avatar was born there."

Moving forward, J Bobde asked about the existence of any astrological or astronomical text supporting the birth of Lord Ram. After a few anecdotes by Dhavan in response, Parasaran replied by saying "his birthday is not celebrated, we go to the temple on Ram Navami."

Referring to case laws, K Parasaran then continued to urge that two juristic entities could coexist within the same area in different forms- the idol and the Janmabhoomi. A deity could be believed to manifest itself in either a physical or perceived form, it is not required that it must be a consecrated idol, he added. As Rajeev Dhavan made his objections known again, Senior Advocate CS Vaidyanathan took exception with him interfering and cutting into their time.

As Parasaran went on to counter the arguments regarding Res Judicata in the matter, Justice Chandrachud sought to clarify whether the argument was that the suit of 1885 would be covered by the 1882 CPC and not the 1908 CPC, even for those suits filed after 1908. "Yes", agreed Parasaran. Dhavan objected to argue that even if the 1882 CPC were to apply, Res Judicata would still be attracted. However, if that were the line taken, "a lot more would have to be argued", added Dhavan. Parasaran and Vaidyanathan again told court that the repeated interferences by Dhavan were unfair as the entire argument was not being allowed by those interruptions. "I was interrupted at every stage, and I answered every question", came Dhavan's reply. "That's not true...it's unfortunate that you say that", said Vaidyanathan.

Before Parasaran concluded his arguments, J Bobde asked him whether there was a difference between a janmabhoomi and janmasthan. Janmasthan is specific, while Janmabhoomi could be much larger. The entire country could be Janmabhoomi, he added.

CS Vaidyanathan then took over, submitted a note and rebutted the arguments made by the Muslim side.

Vaidyanathan argued that submissions made by the Muslim side cast aspersions on the Allahabad High Court's judgement. To characterize the findings of the High Court as guesswork is unwarranted, he said. Rajeev Dhavan intervened at this point to clarify that it was part of the judgment, and not their argument. "I have not characterised anything, it's part of the judgement". They had earlier argued that observations that there was a temple before a mosque was built were never proved, and it was used to target Hindus.

After an exchange ensued between Dhavan and Vaidyanathan, the latter went on to counter the argument that an exact place of birth was not known and that there was no idol to prove the existence of the temple.

"Once it is proved that Lord Ram was born at the palace that existed at the site, there is no need to show the existence of an idol or deity". A property acquires juristic personality when it's dedicated for a particular purpose, he asserted while arguing that divinity was not a bar to juristic personality, as it can be secular too. As Justice Bhushan agreed that a long standing practice is sufficient, Justice Chandrachud asked what if there was no dedication. Vaidyanathan responded by reiterating that the belief that Lord Ram was born there was enough, it did not require dedication. The belief that the land is sanctified because of Lord Ram being born there is sufficient, he added.

When Vaidyanathan moved on to use the findings of the ASI report to counter the existence of an Eidgah mosque, Dhavan intervened to ask how the question can arise without proper digging.

Vaidyanathan then rebutted the claims made regarding discrediting the ASI report as not being an absolute science and being a mere opinion. He submitted that the report had been disrespected despite it being made under the court's continuous supervision. Experts from other countries were called in because of their skills, yet the argument comparing this evidence with that of a handwriting expert is unwarranted, said Vaidyanathan. He further asserted that the High Court had meticulously examined 25 videos and photographs of the excavation and found nothing against ASI's findings. HC has meticulously examined.

Dhavan objected to as being abstract and not on record. Vaidyanathan then turned the Court's attention towards a coloured map of pillars and wall to discredit a submission that there existed an Eidgah which was a single structure. "This was not the case", said Dhavan, as it is a hall with various walls. Dhavan again made his objections known, saying none of what was being shown was excavated. The walls don't merge, said Dhavan, according to the maps and so it was concluded that there were walls. Vaidyanathan pointed out that despite arguing for 3 days to disregard the ASI report, these walls were not refered to.

Both sides then attempted to persuade the bench regarding what was excavated and what wasn't. Justice Chandrachud then stated that excavations belonged to different periods and Justice Bobde asked the counsels to produce a map which clearly marked what had been excavated and what had not. Vaidyanathan drew the line by submitting that the disputed 'wall' was not a single structure, but a room. As counsels from both sides got into a debate regarding each other's arguments, CJI Ranjan Gogoi intervened and cracked the whip. "The same thing is being repeated to us over and over again, as if there's no application of mind from this side...please let him continue", he urged the Muslim side lawyers.

Vaidyanathan resumed his submissions and was taking the bench through the manner in which artefacts and sites were studied by the ASI when the day's hearing concluded.

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