Hindu parties on Tuesday asserted in the Supreme Court that they never made any submission during hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute which may disturb 'communal harmony' and 'peace' but claimed arguments of their rivals bore a communal character.
They also termed as 'unwarranted' and 'unfortunate', the submission of Muslim parties that the archaeological report be trashed and said that now they allege that the excavated wall was of an Idgah.
Questioning the submissions, the senior lawyer for deity 'Ram Lalla' said it then meant that Mughal emperor Babur came and demolished the Idgah and erected the mosque and it also countered their earlier stand that the Masjid was built on a vacant land.
The submissions by the Hindu parties evoked sharp reactions from the Muslim side which said that they did not say anything which raises communal passion and moreover, how did the Muslims know before the digging of the site that an Idgah existed underneath the mosque.
The arguments and counter resulted in a verbal duel between the senior advocates appearing for both the sides before a five-bench Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi which concluded 35th day of the hearing on the contentious legal matter.
"The uncalled for comments were made by them (Muslim parties) during the hearing and we never made any such submissions which were against communal peace and harmony," senior lawyer C S Vaidyanathan, appearing for the deity, said, adding that the comments like 'Kaushlaya's labour room' have been made by them.
"It is unfortunate that the (Sunni) Wakf Board characterised the Allahabad high court judgment as an 'informed guess', he said evoking sharp reaction from senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, counsel for Muslim parties, who retorted, "I have not characterised, but the judges themselves have characterised it (judgement) as informed guess."
"We avoid submissions that could lead to communal divide," Dhavan said, adding, "We said acts were illegal and nothing on communal divide."
As the verbal exchanges continued, the bench, which also comprised justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, got irked and expressed displeasure over repeated interjections by the counsel for Muslim parties during advancing of submissions by senior advocate Vaidyanthan on behalf of the deity.
"This is not possible to continue the hearing like this," the CJI said and put down the files.
"The impression has been given that the people sitting this side do not apply their mind and the same thing is being argued time and again," the bench observed which led Dhavan to apologise.
"We apologise. We were just taken aback," Dhavan said which led the bench to resume hearing.
At the outset, senior advocate K Parasaran, appearing for the deity, extensively dealt with the submission that Lord Ram and the birthplace both can be accorded the juristic status capable of holding properties and instituting lawsuits.
"A consecrated idol is not the only form in which the deity is believed to manifest itself. The deity may be believed to manifest himself in any form, physical or perceived. Such form need not necessarily only be a movable object," he said.
"The devotees pray to Lord Ram at the Janmsthan and the question is whether both can have the juristic status," the bench asked, adding, "there was one conceptual difficulty and which was as to how to lay down the doctrine where the birth place and the deity both can have the juridical status."
The senior lawyer said this issue can be decided as 'case-to-case basis' and in the present matter, the birthplace and the deity both are juristic person as there has been an age-old 'faith and belief' that the Lord Ram was born at the site.
Parasaran then dealt with the submissions of the Muslim side that Hindus were barred from filing lawsuits as a case of Mahant Raghubar Das was dismissed way back in 1885.
The principle of 'res judicata' under the civil law deals with the fact that a same nature of dispute cannot be adjudicated upon twice in a court of law.
He said Mahant did not represent Hindu community and moreover, the verdict judgement on the 1985 lawsuit would be governed by Civil Procedure Code (CPC) of 1882 and and not by the CPC of 1908.
Dhavan interjected Parasaran.
"It is very unfair that Dhavan is interrupting. Allow me to complete the whole argument," Parasaran said.
Later, Vaidyanathan said the disputed property is the place of birth of Lord Rama and it has been treated as sacred and 'impressed with divinity and has been worshipped as such by the Hindus from time immemorial'.
During the Mughal rule the temple was demolished and a mosque was built, but notwithstanding the same, the divine character of the place was not affected and the devotees and the faithful continued to flock to the Ram Janmabhoomi, he said.
"Having taken a stand that there was no structure standing at the time of the construction of Mosque and having also taken the stand that it was not on demolition of any temple or other structure or on the ruins of any such structure Mosque was built, and having thereafter found irrefutable archaeological evidence of a structure beneath the mosque, the Muslim parties are now contending that the structure was an Idgah and not a Hindu temple," he said.
The present stand of Muslims will amount to saying that Mughals demolished an Idgah to put up a mosque on its ruins, he alleged.
The bench would resume hearing on Thursday.