‘Maybe Babur’s mansion, not a mosque’, Supreme Court told in Ayodhya dispute
The Supreme Court bench of five judges, hearing the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, sought on Thursday clarification on three points from one of the Hindu parties arguing against the Allahabad High Court verdict in the case.
The bench, led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, posed the questions to senior advocate PN Mishra, the advocate of the Ram Mandir Revitalisation Committee – whether the existence of a mosque can be negated, whether the structure existing was a mosque and that could a King appoint waqf from the wealth of the state or he would have to buy it first. The bench also comprises justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer.
On his part, Mishra claimed that Quran does not permit building of the mosque on a disputed land nor on a piece of land where another structure existed. Also, he argued, that it has not been proved as to who constructed the disputed structure, Babur or Aurangzeb.
Muslims, in their case, have heavily relied on two inscriptions, one that was placed at entrance and the other on the pulpit in the mosque. But it is also admitted that these inscriptions were either badly damaged or destroyed during riots in 1934, Mishra submitted.
Justice Bobde intervened to remark that the mosque cannot be wished away. “The mosque stands or stood. There was a structure in the shape of a mosque. There is no dispute about that. Whether it was dedicated for the purpose of mosque is argued. However, that does not take away existence of a mosque,” the judge said.
He went on to say: “Even if the argument that waqf was not created is accepted, the mosque stood or used to stand?” The judge said existence of the structure cannot be denied, despite there being no dedication of the mosque.
To expand his argument on the structure not being a mosque, as laid down in Quran, Mishra steered away to give an example. AT this senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for a Muslim party, objected and asked Mishra to restrict himself to evidence.
Justice Chandrachud too told Mishra to rely on exhibits placed before the HC.
“While Islam prohibits worship of anything apart from Allah, Hinduism says whatever you worship ultimately reaches the same one power. Hinduism in that sense is different, Hindus can worship in a place where namaz is offered,” the judge said.
Mishra then listed out characteristics of a mosque to show that Babri Masjid was not a mosque. “If the construction is in line with Islamic tenets and Islamic law, then only it will be termed as mosque. If it is taken by force it will be his property and go to heirs but waqf board would have no role,” he submitted.
According to Islam, a mosque built at a place after demolishing another place of worship there is not proper. If a person creates a waqf out of illegally acquired property, then it is not a lawful waqf, he argued.
“My lords if someone creates a jyotirlinga, we are not going to accept it; similarly, if mosque is not in accordance with Islam, Muslims will not accept it. It would not be a mosque, it would be Babur’s mansion but not mosque,” the advocate said.