Ayodhya case: Muslims' lawyer tears map, CJI says "we'll leave"
On the 40th day of daily hearings of Ayodhya dispute, things took a dramatic turn in the Supreme Court infuriating the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The lawyer representing Muslim Waqf Board, Rajeev Dhavan, tore a pictorial map showing Ram Janmsthaan, inviting a threat from CJI Gogoi. He said the decorum of the court has been spoiled and added the bench would "walk out".
The Ayodhya matter pertains to 2.77 acres of land. A 16th-century Babri Masjid stood at the spot before it was razed by Hindu activists in 1992. In 2010, the Allahabad High Court tried to end the dispute by dividing the land equally among three parties- Sunni Waqf Board, Ram Lalla, and Nirmohi Akhada. Displeased, the parties then went to SC.
On August 6, the constitutional bench, also including Justices DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, SA Bobde, and SA Nazeer, started day-to-day hearings after mediation failed. Notably, the mediation panel was formed to give "healing a chance" but none of the parties relented. Now, the verdict is expected to be delivered before November 17, the date when CJI Gogoi retires. If the judgment doesn't come out by then, the process will restart.
Today, the hearings started and CJI Gogoi made it clear to warring parties that the bench would not dedicate more time to this. "Enough is enough," he said and added that hearings should end by 5 pm. During the course of hearings, the Hindu Mahasabha handed maps related to Ram Janamsthaan to Dhavan. Raising an objection to this, the senior lawyer tore them.
Apparently, Dhavan asked the judges if he can tear the papers. CJI Gogoi said, "Mr. Dhavan, you can shred it further," and then added, "Decorum has been spoiled, we will walk out."
Meanwhile, the mediation panel, headed by retired SC Judge FMI Kalifulla and also including spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior lawyer Sriram Panchu, submitted its report. On a related note, authorities at Ayodhya have imposed Section 144 till December 10, anticipating trouble after the verdict. Only shops and godowns, which have permission from the administration, are allowed to function properly.