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Supreme Court: After Justice UU Lalit recused himself from the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute title case famously known as the Ayodhya dispute, the Court adjourned the matter till January 29 for deciding the schedule of hearing. Justice UU Lalit recused himself from the matter after it was pointed out that he had represented former UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, in a related matter.

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had formed a 5-judge Constitution Bench consisting of himself and Justice SA Bobde, Justice NV Ramana, Justice UU Lalit and Justice Dr. DY Chandrachud, after he along with Justice SK Kaul had ordered on January 4 that an “appropriate bench” constituted by it will pass an order on January 10.

Earlier on 27.09.2018, a Bench comprising of former CJ Dipak Misra and Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer, JJ., by a majority of 2:1, had held that the appeals concerning the Ayodhya (Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid) matter need not be referred to a larger Bench for consideration.

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Supreme Court: When the 3-judge Bench of Dipak Misra, CJI and Ashok Bhushan and S.A. Nazeer, JJ assembled to hear the Ram Janamabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, famously known as the Ayodhya matter, it saw a heated exchange between Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan and Additional Solicitors Generals Maninder Singh and Tushar Mehta.

Below are the excerpts from the heated exchange that took centre stage instead of the arguments in the Ayodhya matter:

  • Maninder Singh asks Rajeev Dhavan to move a bit.
  • Dhavan: Sit down Mr. Maninder Singh, sit down.
  • Singh: Behave yourself Mr. Dhavan.
  • Dhavan: Don’t talk nonsense.
  • Singh: You are talking nonsense.
  • Tushar Mehta (Supporting ASG Maninder Singh): There are people who are arrogant. With due respect to the learned senior counsel, he seems to have undergone a course in it.
  • Dhavan (To the Bench): Why are they sitting next to me and murmuring away and murmuring away?
  • Mehta: Why are you standing near us? There is enough space there.

Rajeev Dhavan then made some comments against former Attorney General and senior advocate K Parasaran, appearing for a Hindu group. He said:

“I am not indulging in theatrics and drama like Mr Parasaran. He suddenly gets up and says things.”

Senior Counsel C S Vaidyanathan and ASG Mehta took offence to the language used by Dhavan. The bench then reminded Dhavan that Parasaran was the former Attorney General of India.

Rajeev Dhavan, who has been pressing for referring the Ayodhya Matter to a Constitution Bench, asked the Bench that why did the Court chose to refer pleas to declare polygamy unconstitutional to a Constitution Bench but was skeptical in referring the Ramjanmabhoomi title appeals to a five-judge Bench, that too, despite repeated requests from the Muslim parties. He said:

“The Ramjanmabhoomi case is the most important issue that affects India’s secularism, more than polygamy.”

To this, Bhushan, J said that the order passed in the polygamy case could not be made a ground to refer the Ramjanmabhoomi appeals to a Constitution Bench. The Bench then told Dhavan that it will hear the arguments from both sides before taking a call on whether the case should be sent to a five-judge Bench. CJI said that the Bench was aware of the high significance and the enormous impact of the question of Muslim rights of worship raised in the Ramjanmabhoomi case and that is why it has decided to hear the matter keenly.

The Court will now hear the matter on 27.04.2018. Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan will continue his arguments on the said date.

Source: The Hindu