A temple existed at the disputed site in Ayodhya way before Babri Masjid was built at the spot, the lawyer for Ram Lalla Virajman told Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Notably, the top court has been hearing the sensitive case on a daily basis for days now. In the latest proceedings, senior lawyer C S Vaidyanathan cited an archaeological report to bolster his arguments.
This case concerns 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya, where Hindu activists believe Lord Rama took human form.
After Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992, the matter went to courts. In 2010, Allahabad High Court divided the land equally among Sunni Waqf Board, deity Ram Lalla, and Nirmohi Akhada.
Displeased with the verdict, all parties had approached the apex court.
Referring to the findings of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Vaidyanathan said pillar bases found at the site confirm that a huge temple existed before a mosque was erected.
"There is nothing to warrant doubting of the credibility of the report or inferences drawn by ASI," the senior lawyer told a constitutional bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi on the eighth day of the hearing.
"I submit that artifacts and records clearly point to the fact that Ram Janmbhoomi is the birthplace of Lord Ram and that sanctity needs to be accorded to that place," Vaidyanathan told the bench.
Further, Vaidyanathan said the disputed structure (Babri Masjid) was erected on either the ruins of the temple or by razing it down.
"The evidence of a 90-year-old who has seen pilgrims come and go and whose cross-examination in this regard has not yet been shaken is proof that the Ayodhya was a place of worship for Hindus," he went on.
Vaidyanathan then went on to say that stone slab, containing Sanskrit inscriptions of 12th century, was recovered from the site.
"The verses speak of King Govinda Chandra who ruled Saketa Mandala of which Ayodhya was capital. A big Vishnu temple was built there, the verses say. It is my submission that this Vishnu temple is the structure that was excavated by ASI," he added.
The apex court took over the matter after mediation by a court-appointed panel failed to reach a consensus.
Earlier this year, the court formed a three-member committee, headed by former SC judge FMI Kalifulla, with a hope that the issue would be resolved through dialog.
The bench had said it was looking for "healing", but the panel couldn't bring all parties on one page.
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