A day after Muslim parties questioned the authorship of 2003 report of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report that had confirmed the presence of a large structure at the Ram Janambhoomi site, it took a U-turn on Thursday to apologise to the Supreme Court for wasting its time in the Ayodhya land dispute case.
According to the reports, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who is representing the Muslim parties apologised to the court after another advocate representing Muslim parties – Meenakshi Arora had questioned the ASI report. “Yesterday’s argument was futile. Authorship can’t be questioned. Authenticity not in doubt,” said Dhawan.
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan told to the five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that they do not wish to question the authorship of the summary of the ASI report.
“It is not expected that every page is to be signed. The authorship of the report and the summary need not be questioned. If we had wasted my lords time, then we apologise for that. There is no point going into that. The report in question has an author and we are not questioning the authorship,” Dhavan, representing the Muslim parties, said.
On Wednesday, senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, also representing the Muslim parties, questioned the ASI report saying every chapter is attributed to an author but the summary has not been attributed to anyone. Arora had also raised her doubts on the authorship of the Archeological Survey of India’s (ASI) report, which had excavated the disputed site on Allahabad High Court’s orders. She had questioned the credibility of archaeology as a scientific discipline.
“Archaeology is at best a social science. It is not a natural science like physics or chemistry since its findings cannot be verified and may differ from the opinion of one person to another,” Arora submitted before the Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
However, an unimpressed Supreme Court while responding to Arora’s argument, had said the mosque side should have questioned this during the trial, and not now during the appeal. The court had said that the report has become part of court records, and it can’t be questioned now.
In 2003, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had excavated the Babri Mosque site at the direction of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court. The archaeologists had reported that evidence of a large structure pre-existed the Babri Masjid.
Further, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked parties in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case to finish their arguments by October 18. The Supreme Court also warned that the parties will not be given any extra day. The apex court continued its hearing on the 32nd day.
“If arguments can’t get over by October 18, there won’t be an extra day,” said Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, who is heading a five-judge bench. The bench also comprises Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, and S Abdul Nazeer.
Chief Justice Gogoi also pointed out that the bench will have just have four weeks to write and deliver the judgment once arguments conclude on October 18. “It will be miraculous if the top court can write judgment in the remaining time given the amount of materials parties have given,” he said.