In an unusual 'addendum' to the judgment in Ayodhya Case, the Supreme Court has observed that faith and belief of Hindus since prior to construction of Mosque and subsequent thereto has always been that Janmaasthan of Lord Ram is the place where Babri Mosque has been constructed.
The 116 page 'addendum', referred to accounts of various historians, gazetteers, travelogues as well as verses from religious books including Valmiki Ramayana and Skanda Purana and Rama Charita Manas. The Court observed that in the period prior to 1528 A.D., there was sufficient religious texts, which led the Hindus to believe the present site of Ram Janma Bhumi as the birthplace of Lord Ram.
Examining all these pleadings and events, the court observed:
The sequence of the events as noticed above clearly indicate that faith and belief of Hindus was that birth place of Lord Ram was in the three-dome structure Mosque which was constructed at the janamasthan. It was only during the British period that grilled wall was constructed dividing the walled premises of the Mosque into inner courtyard and outer courtyard. Grilled iron wall was constructed to keep Hindus outside the grilled iron wall in the outer courtyard. In view of the construction of the iron wall, the worship and puja started in Ram Chabutra in the outer courtyard. Suit of 1885 was filed seeking permission to construct temple on the said Chabutra where worship was permitted by the British Authority. Page 116 Faith and belief of the Hindus as depicted by the evidence on record clearly establish that the Hindus belief that at the birth place of Lord Ram, the Mosque was constructed and three-dome structure is the birth place of Lord Ram. The fact that Hindus were by constructing iron wall, dividing Mosque premises, kept outside the three-dome structure cannot be said to alter their faith and belief regarding the birth place of Lord Ram. The worship on the Ram Chabutra in the outer courtyard was symbolic worship of Lord Ram who was believed to be born in the premises.
Whether Gazetteers and travelogues books can be treated as an evidence?
The Hindu Parties had contended before the Court that relevant books and Gazetteers during the relevant period amply proves the faith and belief of Hindus in the Janma Asthan of Lord Ram, which was worshipped by Hindus throughout. Dr. Rajeev Dhavan on the other hand contended that Gazetteers of period prior to 1858 cannot be looked into and Gazetteers prepared under the British Government after 1858 can be of some assistance. He submitted that Gazetteers prepared during the regime of East India Company cannot be relied nor can be called Gazetteers.
The bench then considered the issue whether Gazetteers and travelogues books can be treated as an evidence for considering the issue?
Referring to Section 57 of the Evidence Act, the bench said:
"The definition of facts, which Court must take judicial notice is not an exhaustive definition. Phrase "on all matters of public history, literature, science or art" are wide enough to empower the court to take into consideration Gazetteers, travelogues and books. Gazetteers are nothing but record of public history. The above provision is with a rider that if the Court is called upon by any person to take judicial notice of any fact, the Court may refuse to do so until and unless, such person produces such book or any document."
It further observed:
Court can take into consideration the Gazetteers under the Evidence Act, 1872, even though, the statement in Gazetteers will not be treated as conclusive evidence but the presumption of correctness of that statement is attached to it. The admissibility of books and travelogues cannot be denied in view of Section 57. Section 81 of the Evidence Act also contemplate for a presumption of genuineness of every document purporting to be any official Gazette or the Government Gazette.
The court then rejected the submission of Dr. Dhavan and held that the Gazetteers, which were prepared during the regime of the East India Company in the Nineteenth Century contains a record of public history and they are clearly admissible under Section 57 of the Evidence Act.
Who authored Addenda?
Both the judgment and addenda does not reveal which judge authored them. The judgment only mention thus about the author of addenda:
One of us, while being in agreement with the above reasons and directions, has recorded separate reasons on: "Whether the disputed structure is the birth-place of Lord Ram according to the faith and belief of the Hindu devotees". The reasons of the learned judge are set out in an addendum.
The Addenda concludes thus:
It is thus concluded on the conclusion that faith and belief of Hindus since prior to construction of Mosque and subsequent thereto has always been that Janmaasthan of Lord Ram is the place where Babri Mosque has been constructed which faith and belief is proved by documentary and oral evidence discussed above.
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