New Delhi: The Supreme Court, on the third day of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case hearings on Thursday, asked the litigant appearing on behalf of Ram Lalla, or the infant Ram, to prove how the birthplace of the deity could be considered a “juristic person" and made a party to the case.
The five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and comprising justices S.A. Bopde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer, stated that as per provisions of the law Hindu deities are treated as juristic persons. The bench questioned senior advocate K. Parasaran, appearing on behalf of the deity Ram Lalla, how the janmasthan or birthplace could have a stake in the case.
“In Hindu religion, idols are not necessary for a place to be regarded as a place of worship...Rivers and the Sun are also worshipped in Hinduism and the birthplace in itself can be treated as a juristic person," replied Parasaran. Owing to this religious fact, the lawsuit has been filed by the deity and the birthplace of Lord Ram has also been made a party.
After a small discussion among the members, the bench, while referring to a Uttarakhand High Court judgment, stated that the Ganga was given the title of juristic person.
"The Uttarakhand High Court has said that rivers are also juristic entities capable of being a party in a case," the bench said, while observing that the janmasthan, owing to its religious significance, could also be considered a juristic person.
Highlighting the importance of the birthplace, Parasaran recited a Sanskrit shloka, 'Janani janmabhoomischa swargadapi gariyasi', and said that a birthplace is greater than heaven.
Additionally, Parasaran also argued that “janmasthan doesn’t have to be the exact spot but also the surroundings. Both Hindus and Muslims have always called it janmasthan."
Parasaran also alleged that the deity 'Ram Lalla Virajaman' was not made a party when the magistrate had attached the disputed site and when the civil court granted injunction by appointing a receiver in the case.
Concluding the third day’s argument, Parasaran stated that the fact that worshippers are unable to pray is a “continuing wrong" and hence the suit is well within the limitation period and should be accepted by the court.
The five-judge bench asked for Nirmohi Akhara’s lawyer, senior Advocate Sushil K. Jain to complete tomorrow his incomplete submissions.
Interestingly, Gogoi announced that the case had been adjourned till tomorrow. Generally, the constitutional bench does not sit on Mondays and Fridays, days reserved for fresh and miscellaneous matters. It is not known yet whether all the subsequent Mondays and Fridays are reserved for the Ayodhya hearing.
Fourteen appeals have been filed before the Supreme Court so far against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment which said that the disputed 22.7 acres should be equally divided among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
On 6 December 1992, the Babri Masjid, a 16th century mosque, was demolished by Hindu groups who want a Ram temple built at the site.