Ay­o­d­hya verdict by Nov 17 will be a mir­a­cle: SC

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - Dhanan­jay.Ma­ha­p­a­tra @times­group.com

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thurs­day said it can­not of­fer even a day be­yond Oc­to­ber18 for Hindu and Mus­lim par­ties to con­clude ar­gu­ments in the Ay­o­d­hya land dis­pute case, and that it would still be a mir­a­cle if the court could pro­nounce verdict four weeks there­after.

What the bench had in mind was Novem­ber 17, the sched­uled re­tire­ment date of CJI Ran­jan Go­goi, as it re-drew the hear­ing sched­ule for the avail­able 10 days and in­sisted that par­ties must con­clude ar­gu­ments by Oc­to­ber 18 on the vexed 70-yearold lit­i­ga­tion for own­er­ship of the 2.77 acre dis­puted Ram Jan­mab­hoomi-Babri Masjid land in Ay­o­d­hya.

On Day 32 of the hear­ing, the bench com­pris­ing CJI Go­goi and Jus­tices S A Bobde, D Y Chan­drachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Ab­dul Nazeer said, “There can­not be a sin­gle ex­tra day given be­yond Oc­to­ber 18 for con­clu­sion of ar­gu­ments by both sides. Even if it con­cludes on Oc­to­ber 18, then too, it will be mirac­u­lous to pro­nounce a judg­ment in four weeks.”

The bench was in­di­cat­ing the work­load to the coun­sel — read­ing Al­la­habad HC’s 2010 judg­ment and doc­u­ments run­ning into thou­sands of pages, ap­pre­ci­at­ing writ­ten sub­mis­sions by both sides also run­ning into over thou­sand pages, burn­ing the mid­night oil to ap­pre­ci­ate lengthy ar­gu­ments in the light of ev­i­dence on record and then write the judg­ment.

On Thurs­day, se­nior ad­vo­cate Ra­jeev Dha­van at­tempted to ex­plain se­nior ad­vo­cate Meenakshi Arora’s anal­y­sis of the ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ex­ca­va­tion re­port. On Wed­nes­day, Arora had faced a bar­rage of ques­tions from the bench when she cast doubts over the man­ner in which Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey of In­dia car­ried out ex­ca­va­tion at the dis­puted site in 2003 on the HC’s or­der and the method­ol­ogy it em­ploy

There can­not be a sin­gle ex­tra day given be­yond Oc­to­ber 18 for con­clu­sion of ar­gu­ments by both sides. Even if it con­cludes on Oc­to­ber 18, then too, it will be mirac­u­lous to pro­nounce a judg­ment in four weeks

SC BENCH ON AY­O­D­HYA VERDICT

ed to in­ter­pret ex­ca­vated data.

The bench had on Wed­nes­day asked her why Mus­lim par­ties did not cross-ex­am­ine the ASI team of ar­chae­ol­o­gists be­fore the HC and what use was her at­tempt to dis­credit the ASI re­port dur­ing hear­ing of ap­peals be­fore the SC. Dha­van said, “No one is ar­gu­ing that the re­port is not au­then­tic. If we wasted the court’s time on that as­pect on Wed­nes­day, we are sorry. But there is a big ques­tion mark on au­then­tic­ity of the sum­mary or con­clu­sions drawn by the ASI. The court must con­sider it.”

Arora re­sumed from where she left off on Wed­nes­day and at­tempted to punch holes in the ASI re­port cit­ing “ab­surd in­fer­ences” drawn by the ASI on pe­ri­ods of his­tory to which lay­ered con­struc­tion of the “massive struc­ture” dis­cov­ered be­neath the mosque be­longed. She also doubted the ASI’s in­fer­ence that arte­facts and fig­urines dis­cov­ered were linked to Hindu re­li­gion. “This shows that in­fer­ence of massive Hindu struc­ture be­neath the dis­puted struc­ture was a re­sult of pre­sump­tions and con­jec­tures of ASI,” she said and as­serted that the struc­ture had no re­la­tion to the Ram Jan­mas­than tem­ple.

She said the ASI’s claim of ex­am­in­ing 50 pil­lar bases to con­clude that it was a Hindu struc­ture com­pletely ig­nored the ev­i­dence of a 50-me­tre­long wall on the western side, which could also in­di­cate it to be an Idgah over which Babri Masjid was built.

Full re­port on www.toi.in

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