Ayodhya hearing: Supreme Court takes serious view of comment by U.P. Minister

Court’s reservations will be recorded in order, says CJI

The Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, which is hearing the Ayodhya dispute appeals, on Thursday took a serious view of a comment reported to be made by an Uttar Pradesh State Minister that Ram temple will be built on the disputed land as the “Supreme Court is ours”.

Chief Justice Gogoi said the court condemned such statements and parties on both sides of the Ayodhya dispute would receive a fair and free hearing. He said the court’s reservations would be recorded in its order.

The 22nd day of the Ayodhya hearing began with senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, for the Sunni Waqf Board, informing the court that even his clerk had been bearing the brunt of ridicule and threats for their representation of Muslim parties in the dispute.

Mr. Dhavan explained that he was not arguing against the Hindu faith but merely doing his job as counsel for a party in a case.

The apex court on September 3 issued notice to an 88-year-old Chennai-based man for allegedly intimidating Mr. Dhavan for representing the Muslim side in the Ayodhya title suit appeals. Mr. Dhavan had sought contempt proceedings to be initiated against N. Shanmugham, retired government official. Mr. Dhavan had annexed a letter from the man with his petition.

Mr. Dhavan said this was only one of several instances of threats received by him for appearing in the case.

“It needs to be mentioned that the petitioner has been accosted both at home and in the court premises with intimidating behaviour by several persons,” he said, and referred to several WhatsApp messages sent by Sanjay Kalal Bajrangi in this context. He annexed screenshots of the messages in his petition.

The court also agreed to look into a complaint made by Iqbal Ansari, a litigant in the Ayodhya appeals, about an alleged instance of intimidation and attack on him.

Mr. Dhavan had informed the Constitution Bench that Mr. Ansari was accosted by a couple at his own house in Faizabad. They told him to withdraw from the case or face dire consequences. The woman had even introduced herself as an “international shooter”.

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