As the hearing in the politically-sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case continued for the eighth day on Tuesday, Ram Lalla Virajman's counsel told the Supreme Court that a Hindu temple was destroyed to construct a mosque at the disputed site.
Appearing for the deity, senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan referred to a report by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to buttress claims that the disputed area had a Hindu temple. He told the court that the report mentioned figures of crocodiles and tortoises, which were alien to the Muslim culture.
"The ultimate inference is that there existed a massive structure and if not bigger than the disputed structure not certainly smaller. The high court found that articles found during excavation are not articles to be found in any Islamic structure," he was quoted as telling the top court by The Leaflet.
A five-judge bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi, and Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer assembled earlier on Tuesday for the hearing. The hearing did not take place on Monday due to Bobde's unavailability.
Vaidyanathan told the bench that a slab, mentioning that there was a Vishnu Hari temple in Ayodhya, was discovered during the demolition of the mosque in 1992. He also submitted a document which showed the existence of the stone slab, containing inscriptions in Sanskrit.
My submission is my lords that irrespective of recovery or if it was in a museum, this mentions that there was a temple of Vishnu Hari built in Ayodhya and that is good enough for me.
— The Leaflet (@TheLeaflet_in) August 20, 2019
The senior advocate further presented the cross examination of journalist KV Ramesh, who has claimed that he witnessed the slab falling from the western wall of the disputed structure during the demolition.
Vaidyanathan argued that the slab supported ASI's conclusions that there was a temple at the 'Ram Janmasthan'. "The disputed structure was put in place either on the ruins of the temple or by pulling down the temple," Bar and Bench quoted him as telling the apex court.
According to Live Law, the counsel cited the accounts of Hindu witnesses. When asked by the bench if any witnesses had seen namaz being performed at the site, he cited the statement of one of the witnesses who said that he had never seen it happening. He told the court Hindu devotees continued to worship despite another structure coming up at the 'Ram Janmasthan'.
Reading out oral evidence given by Muslim witnesses, he said that one of them stated that the community will not consider the demolished structure as a mosque if it was built after demolition of a temple.
Last week, Vaidyanathan had told the court about the "massive" temple of Lord Ram existing at the disputed site in Ayodhya before the construction of Babri Masjid.
The senior lawyer had extensively referred to various pictures and reports, including the ASI's findings on the excavated materials from the disputed site, and said, however, there was no such material to show that it was a temple of only Lord Ram.
But the pictures of the deities, including those of Lord Shiva, sculptures on the pillars of "Garuda" flanked by lions and the images of lotus amply indicated that it was a temple and moreover, these things were not found in mosques, Vaidyanathan submitted before the bench.
"Keeping in mind the faith of Hindus and preponderance of probability, it would indicate that this was a temple of Lord Ram," he had said. "Along with the massive old structure, other materials found during excavation suggested that it was a temple."
Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre disputed land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and 'Ram Lalla Virajman'.
Babri Masjid was demolished by right-wing activists on 6 December, 1992 in Ayodhya, leading to the protracted legal battle.
The Supreme Court began holding day-to-day hearings from 6 August. The hearing will resume on Wednesday, when Vaidyanathan might complete his submissions.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Aug 20, 2019 20:12:42 IST