Jaipur: In an interview to NDTV, Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, who is all set to be the next chief justice of India on November 17, has termed the century-old, politically and communally sensitive Ayodhya title dispute case as one of the ‘most important’ in the world.
When the interviewer asked Bobde which case is a milestone in his career and if Ayodhya case could be the one, he replied, “Ayodhya is definitely important. It is one of the most important cases in the world today.”
This statement by the CJI-designate has led to a spate of reactions on social media. It must be noted that after Hindu militants (kar sevaks) of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) demolished the Babri masjid in 1992, communal violence took the lives of several hundred people across India, mostly Muslims.
Bobde is part of the five-judge constitution bench that heard the appeals over 40 days against the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad high court in the case regarding ownership of 2.77 acres of disputed land in Ayodhya. In 2010, the Allahabad HC ordered a three-way division of the disputed land between the Nirmohi Akhara sect, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board and ‘Ram Lalla Virajman’, the deity represented by individuals close to the VHP.
The Supreme Court constitution bench reserved its order on October 16 and is set to pronounce the judgment before the incumbent CJI, Ranjan Gogoi, retires on November 17.
Speculation was already rife that a significant judgment could be in the offing. Now, the CJI-designate calling the dispute as “most important case in the world,” has added to those speculations.
The Hindu parties to the dispute have argued that the entire land is the birthplace of Lord Ram and hence should be given to them to build a temple. Contradicting their claims, the Muslim parties have said mere belief doesn’t confer ownership rights on a place.
During the hearing, both parties to the dispute referred to the reports of historians and the Archaeological Survey of India, land documents prepared under the British rule and other evidence to corroborate their claims.
On the other hand, the criminal case against those who demolished the Babri masjid on December 6, 1992 has been extended to April 2020. Apart from lakhs of kar sevaks accused in the case, the prominent politicians indicted are senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar, Murli Manohar Joshi and Kalyan Singh (former governor of Rajasthan); VHP leaders Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Vishnu Hari Dalmia and Champat Rai Bansal; Shiv Sena leaders Bar Thackeray, Moreshwar Save, Satish Pradhan; Hindu Mahasabha’s Mahant Avaidhyanath; Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas president Mahant Nritya Gopal Das; and Sadhvi Ritambhara.