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  India   All India  05 Sep 2019  Sunni Waqf board asserts claim over disputed Ram site

Sunni Waqf board asserts claim over disputed Ram site

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Sep 5, 2019, 3:40 am IST
Updated : Sep 5, 2019, 3:40 am IST

The site in dispute is 1,500 square yard comprising the inner and the outer courtyard.

Supreme Court of India (Photo: Asian Age)
 Supreme Court of India (Photo: Asian Age)

New Delhi: Asserting its claim over entire disputed site at Ayodhya, Sunni Waqf Board on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that Nirmohi Akhara can continue to exercise its Shebait rights and perform worship of Lord Rama at Ram Chabutra located in the outer courtyard of place where stood the Babri Masjid before it was razed on December 6, 1992.

The site in dispute is 1,500 square yard comprising the inner and the outer courtyard.

 

Recognising the Shebait rights of the Nirmohi Akhara to offer worship at the Ram Chabutra, Sunni Waqf Board told the five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the dispute was only in respect of the inner courtyard in which idols were surreptitiously placed inthe intervening night of December22/23,1949.

As senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan said this, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said that the “Shebait rights are in relation to a deity. When you say Akhara has shebait rights, are you admitting there were idols in a part of outer courtyard and thereby that part is not part of what you claim is mosque.” Mr Dhavan clarified that Sunni Waqf Board was only saying what was determined by the federal  court in 1885 giving Nirmohi Akhar Shebait rights to worship at the Ram Chabutra.

 

What was being recognised is the right of Nirmohi Akhara to offer worship at Ram Chabutra and not the title to the site, Mr Dhavan said. Telling the court that India is full of places where places of different religion co-exist and referred to Kashi and Mathura.

Justice Nazeer attributed this co-existence to the predominance of Sufism. While the inner courtyard comprises the area falling the under the three domes of now demolished Babri Masjid and the outer courtyard  comprises the Ram Chabutra, Sita Rasoi and Bhandar. The idols of Lord Rama were placed in the inner courtyard beneath the central dome on December 22/23,1949.

Dhavan said that both idol of Ram Lalla and Nirmohi Akhara could not come before the court with similar prayer – claiming title of the disputed site. He said that idol though recognized as juristic personality can’t by itself approach the court claiming the title of the place where it is placed.

 

Either the Shebait or in the absence of Shebait or Shebait abandoning his role, the next friend of idol – the devotee can move the court on its behalf. A devotee can institute a suit on behalf of idol only when the court grants permission, and the same can be granted only after hearing the persons interested, Dhavan told the court.

In an obvious reference of both the idol of Ram Lalla and Nirmohi Akhara refraining from questioning the maintainability of each others suit for title of disputed site, Sunni Waqf Board said that there could be no compromise between the Shebait and the next friend (devotee) of the idol to maintain both the suits.

 

Referring to Section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure, Dhavan said in any case either the suit of Nirmohi Akhara  or that of idol of Ram Lalla must be dismissed as not maintainable as both of them can’t survive  at the same time.

The top court is hearing a batch of cross petitions challenging September 30, 2010, Allahabad High Court verdict giving two parts of the disputed site to Hindus and one to Muslims.

Tags: sunni waqf board, supreme court