Ayodhya Case: SC Asks How Birthplace Can Be Party to Land Dispute
The Supreme Court on Thursday, 8 August, asked 'Ram Lalla Virajman', one of the parties in the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute at Ayodhya, how the 'Janmasthanam' (birthplace of deity) can be regarded as a "juristic person" having stakes as a litigant in the case.
The apex court, hearing the case on the third day, said that so far as Hindu deities are concerned, they have been legally treated as juristic persons which can hold properties and institute, defend and intervene in lawsuits.
"Whether the birthplace can be held to be a juristic or juridical person. So far as idols of deities are concerned, they had been held to be a juristic person," said the bench, also comprising Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer.
Responding to the query, Parasaran told the bench, "In Hindu religion, idols are not necessary for a place to be regarded as a holy place of worship.... Rivers and Sun are also worshipped in Hinduism and birthplace in itself can be treated as a juristic person."
The bench then referred to a judgment of the Uttarakhand High Court in which the holy river Ganga was held to be a juristic entity entitled to pursue the litigation.
"The Uttarakhand High Court has said that the rivers are also juristic entities capable of being a party in the case," the bench observed. The bench then asked Parasaran to proceed with his submissions on other issues.
Highlighting the importance of birthplace, Parasaran recited a Sanskrit Shloka, 'Janani janmbhoomischa swargadapi gariyasi', (Birth place is greater than heaven).
Parasaran also referred to the law on Limitation and said that a "continuing injury" has been caused to the Hindu worshippers by the "continuing wrong" caused by the judicial order by which the property was attached by the magistrate and a receiver was appointed.
"Preventing a person from exercising the right of worship is a continuing wrong and gives rise to continuing cause of action (to avail legal remedies)," the senior lawyer said.
At the end of the hearing, the bench said that on 16 December 1949, last 'namaz' was offered and asked, "Was it the case that due to placing of the idols, they (Muslims) could not pray?".
At the outset, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for a Muslim party, said that the two separate lawsuits filed by 'Ram Lalla Virajman' and 'Nirmohi Akhara' respectively are at "loggerheads" with each other and if one is allowed, then the other goes automatically.
He suggested that the Muslim party be asked to advance submissions in either of the lawsuits as only one can be allowed legally.
Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties – the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
On 6 December 1992, the Babri Masjid, constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished.
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