The Supreme Court bench hearing the Ayodhya case told senior lawyer Rajeev Dhavan, the Muslim party lawyer, a worshipper’s unflinching belief in the Ram Janmabhumi can’t be questioned, it has to be accepted. The court made the remarks on Friday, during the 23rd day of the day to day hearing into the title dispute for the Ram Janmabhumi in Ayodhya.
The court said this to rebut Dhavan who had argued that there was hardly any evidence to back the faith of the Hindus in the janam sthan from “time immemorial”. Dhavan had opposed the arguments made by Hindu parties that it is the age-old belief of Hindus that Lord Ram was born at that place, based on Skanda Purana and other religious texts.
The court countered this argument of Dhavan by questioning him how the belief of Hindu worshippers can be challenged with regard of the existence of the Janmasthan, and added that the “sanctity of belief” that Lord Ram took birth there and whether this claim is true or frivolous can only be tested under Hinduism.
Rajeev Dhavan had also opposed making the “Janmasthan” a party in a case which was filed a deity. He questioned how a piece of land can have the status of a “juristic person” and file a case in court.
To this, the court asked him to define characteristics of a deity which makes it a juristic person, and questioned why the same characteristics can’t extend to a place. “When a place assumes the character of a juridical person by virtue of birth of a deity or marriage of a deity, then would not areas abutting the spot where the garlands were exchanged also become part of it?” the court asked. “What are those essential features in coming to the conclusion that idols are juristic person and only then it can be dealt whether a property also can or cannot have the status of juristic person,” the bench further asked,
Earlier, appearing for Ram Lalla, senior advocate K. Parasaran had described the “Asthan (place) as the personification of the deity. It has by itself become an object of worship for the Hindus”.
Dhavan argued that if the Hindu party argument is accepted that area itself has attained the status of a deity, then no other person will have any right over that property.
Parasaran said that rivers, mountains, and wells have been prayed by people and said, “you pray to the Sun, but not call it your territory”.
Referring to the claim of Hindus that Lord Ram was ‘swayambhu’, Dhavan said it means that the God has manifested himself at a place. The court then asked him whether Kaaba at Mecca was ‘swaymbhu’, to which he replied that it was “intrinsically divine”.
A Hindu deity is treated as a juristic person with rights as per laws. The Ayodhya deity is an infant form of Lord Ram. The deity is deemed a perpetual minor. The law of limitation does not apply to minors. The Allahabad HC had admitted the suit filed on behalf of Ram Lalla and appointed the next friend to represent the deity. Dhavan argued that this will create havoc if the court allows any person to file case as a next friend.
“Ours is a country of religious endowments, everywhere. If your lordships decide on next friend basis without proof, what will the consequence be? The consequence will be that next friend will be suing everywhere. This is a dangerous proposition,” he said.