Lashing out on Thursday, senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, representing the appellants, said ASG Tushar Mehta’s earlier remarks were “uncalled for”.
The Muslim appellants in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute on Thursday criticised the Uttar Pradesh government for taking a “non-neutral stance” in the Supreme Court.
They said the State government had shed its promise of staying neutral in the Ayodhya land dispute.
The appellants were referring to arguments before a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in the previous hearing.
On July 6, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State, strongly objected to the appellants’ persistent plea for the case to be referred to a Constitution Bench.
The appellants wanted a Constitution Bench to first decide the question of whether a mosque is essential to Islam. They questioned a line in the 1994 apex court judgment in the Ismail Farooqui case, which says Muslims can pray “anywhere, even in the open”. They argued that Islam would collapse without its mosques to congregate and pray.
Mr. Mehta had wondered why the appellants had raised this question eight years after the Ayodhya case came to the Supreme Court in 2010. He submitted that there was something “inherently wrong” with the request.
Lashing out on Thursday, senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, representing the appellants, said Mr. Mehta’s remarks were “uncalled for”.
“The non-neutrality of the officer of the State is evident… They have accused one party of lack of bona fide… this is impermissible and a breach of faith,” Mr. Dhavan submitted.
He pointed out that the ASG was a law officer of the Centre, which is in fact the ‘Statutory Receiver’ of the area in dispute under the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act of 1993 and thus should have maintained a neutral stance.
Mr. Dhawan brushed aside the position taken by Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board chairman Syed Waseem Rizvi to settle for a new mosque in a “Muslim-dominated area at a reasonable distance from the most revered place of birth of Maryada Purushottam Sri Ram”.
Mr. Rizvi, through his counsel, traced the lineage of the Babri Masjid, which was razed down by karsevaks on December 6, 1992, to Mir Baqi, a Shia noble in Mughal Emperor Babur’s court. He claimed Babri Masjid was a Shia waqf (endowment).
“I do not even want to respond to these submissions,” Mr. Dhavan reacted.
At one point, Mr. Dhawan sarcastically said the idea of giving up the legal fight now, as suggested by Mr. Rizvi, would amount to an “indulgent act of charity”.
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