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Hindu, Muslim sides contest Ayodhya claims as Oct 18 nears

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CJI says, Ayodhya dispute will conclude on or before Oct 18New Delhi, Sep 30 (IANS) With October 18 – the deadline for arguments in the Ayodhya title case – fast approaching, the counsel for both sides sharply contested each other’s arguments – Hindus parties argued Hindu law is applicable in interpreting Lord Ram’s birthplace as a juristic personality, while Muslims contended the Babri Masjid’s validity will not be decided in terms of tenets of Islam but rather how people had treated it.

On the 34th day of Ayodhya title dispute hearing, senior counsel K Parasaran, representing Ram Lalla Virajman, contended before the court that birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya can also be treated as a juristic personality, subject to law, besides the deity himself and is capable of filing lawsuits to lay claim over the land.

This response led to a strong objection by the Muslim parties, who argued that the birthplace of the deity cannot be given this status. They have argued that this plea would drive them out, and subsequently their legal claim over the disputed site.

Parasaran said Hindus have attached divinity to the birthplace, and they want to worship this belief. “The land itself may be treated as a juristic entity alongside the idol that may be believed to manifest Lord Ram as a deity,” he submitted before the five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

As the bench queried him on similar status, where land is juristic personality, has been accorded to any Hindu temple, Parasaran contended Hindus belief in particular deities, temples and their judicial status can be decided on “case-to-case basis”, specifically under Hindu laws.

“While applying principles of Hindu law to the present case, may interpret the term reasonably to mean the general area considered physically sacred by the Hindus. The cities of Ayodhya, Kashi, Mathura, etc. are considered holy, but worship is not offered to the city by a believer; rather, worship is offered at a well-identified place generally considered to be of particular religious significance,” Parasaran said in his written submissions.

He told the bench that construction of a mosque on the top will not take away the juristic character of Lord Ram’s birthplace.

Earlier, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Muslim parties, had submitted before the bench that Hindus have been barred from filing lawsuits, as a case had already been dismissed in 1885. The apex court did not seem to agree with his contentions.

Later, advocate Nizam Pasha, representing a Muslim litigant, contested the Hindu parties’ arguments that Babri was not a valid mosque under Sharia and Quranic laws. The bench said it would like to hear the contentions of the Sunni Waqf Board, and these laws are applicable to Waqf.

The bench asked Pasha: “Was Babar bound by Quranic injunctions? If he was not bound, then in this scenario, what will be the result?”

“Question whether there existed a Wuzu (water tank for performing ablution) in the mosque is of no consequence, as the Islamic idea is that one should perform the ablution at home and come,” Pasha contended, countering Hindu parties’ submissions that Babri Masjid lacked the characteristics of a mosque.

He further stated that after 500 years, a constitutional court cannot evaluate the validity of the actions of a sovereign, Emperor Babar, and hold his actions were illegal.

The hearing will continue on Tuesday.

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