New Delhi, May 17
There is no particular religious significance or importance attributable to the Babri Masjid structure in Ayodhya, while 'janmasthan' (birthplace) of Lord Ram is a particular place of religious significance for the Hindus, so it can't be shifted, the deity's counsel told the Supreme Court on Thursday.
Senior Advocate K. Parasaran, appearing for deity Ram Lalla Virajman, told an apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that the birthplace cannot be shifted to another site, while a mosque with no particular religious significance to the Muslim public can be shifted as that will "not affect the right to practice religion by offering 'namaz' in other mosques".
"Admittedly, there are a number of other mosques at Ayodhya," he argued, adding that the disputed 2.77 acres site at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh is a place of particular religious significance for the Hindus and "can't be shifted".
He said that to go on a pilgrimage is a practice of religious faith for the Muslims as well as the Hindus, but for the Muslims, "Mecca and Medina alone are places of particular significance" as pilgrimage centres, but for them such was not the case with Ayodhya/Babri Masjid.
Addressing the bench, also comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, Parasaran argued that the prayer for reconsideration of the 1994 five-Judge Constitution Bench judgment in the Ismail Faruqui case, in which it was held that a mosque was not an integral part of religious practice of offering prayers, was not maintainable in this case.
"On merits, the judgment does not call for reconsideration and is rightly decided. And to reconsider the judgment in Ismail Faruqui's case will be an exercise in futility as the judgment therein is binding on the present appellants," he said while opposing the plea of Muslim representatives in the Ayodhya case that the 1994 judgment be reconsidered by a larger bench of either five or seven Judges.
Addressing the bench on the flaws of the 1984 judgment, Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for lead petitioner M. Siddiqui represented by his legal heir, had earlier said that this verdict completely denuded the concept of religious practices under Article 25 of the Constitution.
In an earlier hearing, Dhavan had said that a larger bench of either five or seven Judges has to revisit the issue and decide "what is the meaning of mosque to the Muslims" and is it taken as a "gospel truth that a mosque is not essential to Muslims and Islam".
On Wednesday, Parasaran contended that the suit property in Ayodhya is a place of particular religious significance for Hindus and to go on pilgrimage and worship therein is an essential part of Hindu religion and practice, adding that the "right of the Hindus is a fundamental right to freedom of religion under Article 25 of the Constitution and the Hindus cannot be deprived of the same".
"Hindus also go on pilgrimage, which is generally known as 'theerath yatras'. Though there are several important places of pilgrimage, seven places are especially holy and of particular religious significance to the Hindus, Ayodhya being the foremost," he contended.
He added: "No particular religious significance is pleaded qua the Babri Masjid which existed at Ayodhya before demolition. That Babar built the Masjid is a historical fact and not a fact of particular religious significance or importance. As regards the Hindus, the place being 'janmasthan' of Lord Ram is a particular place of religious significance. This is not comparison of two different religions, but is a submission as to the claim of the Muslim public in the erstwhile Babri Masjid and claim of the Hindus to Ram Janmasthan."
The faith of the Hindus from time immemorial is that the site below the three domes of the now-demolished structure is the 'janmasthan' of Lord Ram, the senior counsel contended.
The court is hearing a batch of cross petitions challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict that divided the disputed 2.77 acres site between the Nirmohi Akhara, the Lord Ram deity and the Sunni Waqf Board.
The top court was moved by Siddiqui represented by his legal heirs, the Nirmohi Akhara, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, Bhagwan Shri Ram Virajman, All India Hindu Mahasabha's Swami Chakrapani, the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, the Akhil Bharatiya Sri Ramjanam Bhoomi Punardhar Samiti and others.
The apex court posted the matter for July 6, after the court's summer vacation.
Lord Ram's birthplace can't be shifted, deity's counsel tells SC
New Delhi, May 17