Communalism

Rajeev Dhavan Had CJI's Go Ahead to Tear Map But Hindu Mahasabha Complains Anyway

The map, which purportedly 'indicates' Ram's birthplace in Ayodhya had no formal bearing on the case before the bench.

New Delhi: A day after Rajeev Dhavan, senior Supreme Court advocate and counsel for the Sunni Waqf Board and other Muslim parties in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid case, tore a pictorial map purportedly showing the birthplace of Ram at the disputed site in Ayodhya, the All India Hindu Mahasabha (AIHM) has lodged a complaint with the Bar Council seeking action against him.

In the written complaint, AIHM spokesperson Pramod Pandit Joshi sought action against 73-year-old Dhavan alleging that it was a “clear case” of contempt of court and “action must be initiated against him”. 

Joshi reportedly said that the senior advocate committed “a highly unethical act by tearing into pieces a copy of the map submitted before the Supreme Court…This act of Dhavan scandals and brings disrepute to the Supreme Court Bar. It is therefore requested to take cognisance and take appropriate action against the senior advocate in accordance with law.” 

Also read: Sunni Waqf Board Will Drop Babri Land Claim if Other Mosques Are Guaranteed Protection

Interestingly, from the sequence of courtroom proceedings reported in media, Dhavan tore the map, presented by the AIHM counsel Vikas Singh to substantiate the latter party’s claim over the disputed site, in response to a comment made by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. 

Dhavan severely objected to reliance on evidence such as the pictorial map and “such documents” to put forward the janmabhoomi claim. He said that this cannot be done any more since the issue of the exact location of Ram’s birthplace was being deliberated upon by the Allahabad high court, based on other documents.

Singh thereafter said he was not relying on the map “for evidence” and would not press for taking it on record. 

Dhavan also asked the five-judge constitution bench headed by CJI Gogoi what he should do with the map in that case.

According to a report in the Times of India, the CJI then told Dhavan, “Since the Hindu party is not relying on the map, and if you find it irrelevant, then you can tear it off.” 

Surprising those present in the courtroom, Dhavan tore the map into pieces.

The map was created by a former Bihar cadre IPS officer Kishore Kunal who also included it in his book Ayodhya Revisited

Former Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju posted on Facebook an email exchange with Dhavan, a classmate of his in Boys High School, Allahabad and again in the University of Allahabad. Dhavan told Katju that senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for a faction of the All India Hindu Mahasabha, was trying to introduce new evidence on the 40th day. “I protested and told the Court I am deleting it from the bunch of papers. The Chief Justice of India said to me in Court, you can tear it if you want, I proceeded to tear it,” Dhavan said.

Justice Katju said he would like to put Dhavan’s version of the incident in the public domain. “This I thought necessary since our mostly biased media often paints Dhavan in dark colours since, like Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s famous novel To Kill a Mocking Bird and like the legendary American lawyer Clarence Darrow (see his biography Attorney for the Damned), he often defends Muslims and other underdogs in our society.”