Since 6 August, the Supreme Court has been hearing the Ayodhya matter on a daily basis. To help you keep up, we have created a short summary of proceedings (Click here for Weeks 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10)
The case is a set of appeals to the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment that divided the land title equally among the Nirmohi Akhara, Lord Ram and the Sunni Waqf Board. In week 2, the court exclusively heard suit number 5, Lord Ram’s suit. Senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan attempted to establish that the Hindu belief that the site is Ram's birthplace pre-dates the construction of a mosque.
CS Vaidyanathan spent a significant amount of time, on 14 and 16 August, taking the court through the documentary evidence. He sought to establish that Hindus had constructed a temple at least three centuries prior to the construction of a mosque. Here are some highlights:
Often times, CS Vaidyanathan would rely on historical accounts to establish Hindu belief, rather than establish a detailed account of when certain structures were constructed or demolished. For example, when presenting the 19th Century British surveyor Martin Montgomery’s accounts, he stressed that what they demonstrate is that Hindus believed that the site was of special significance.
Possession or access?
On 13 August, CS Vaidyanathan argued that as the site is a juridical entity it cannot be possessed. He attempted to reframe the issue as being about who could access the site. He also criticized the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, submitting that a deity could not be divided.
Disputing the Sunni claim
CS Vaidyanathan disputed the Sunni Waqf Board’s claim of exclusive and continuous access, on 13 August. First, he submitted that at no point did Hindus lose access to the disputed site. Justice Bobde emphasised the distinction between access and possession. Second, CS Vaidyanathan submitted that daily namaz only took place during 1856 to 1934. His suggestion was that the Board could not claim exclusive, continuous possession, if daily prayers were not being observed.