The Supreme Court on Tuesday posed certain searching queries to the Muslim parties about the images of lions, birds and flowers found on the now-demolished structure at the disputed Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri mosque site, seeking to know whether such pictures are found in mosques.
The Muslim parties said there were no images of God found in any mosque but just because "some flowers and some pictures" have been found, it cannot be said that the site was "unquranic" and against the Islamic beliefs.
They told the 5-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, that a few pictures of lions, a bird on the "Singhdwar" (gate) and some flowery images found on "kasauti pillars" of the structure do not help the Hindu side in establishing that there was a temple instead of a mosque.
"This (the picture of two lions and one bird taken in 1950) is on the 'singhdwar'. It has two lions and one 'garuda', the bench said, adding that it wanted to see a "better picture".
"There cannot be images of flowers, animals in a mosque... Mr Dhavan, can you make a small note and give us the images of mosques," said the bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer, on the 25th day of hearing in the case.
Mr Dhavan, who was arguing on eighth day on behalf of Sunni Waqf Board and others including original litigant M Siddiq, told the bench that the reliance on these pictures by Hindu parties "does not prove anything".
Moreover, we were not called upon to answer this question in the High Court and the point was that there was "no direct evidence of any image of a god there", he said.
Nothing had come out of it (pictures of lions and a bird) as some Muslim witnesses had said it was "emblem of Nawab", while some Hindus said that they indicated towards the existence of temple.
On the lotus symbol, found on the kasauti pillars, the senior lawyer said that they did not make the structure a temple or part of a temple and moreover, such flowery images were also part of Islamic art the world over.
Mr Dhavan questioned the submissions of Hindu parties on 14 "kasuti" pillars and various images found on them and said: "Some (witnesses) said that these pillars were lying there, some said that they came from Nepal and some said they came from nearby mining area and few others said that they came from Sri Lanka.
"On kasuti pillars, there was no direct evidence of any image of God or Goddess on them. This is what I have argued. They (Hindus) will have to show some images of God on them...there was a suggestion that as there were images of lotus, so it was a temple."
Referring to the High Court verdict, he said that there was no such findings in the judgement and referred to Qutab Minar and said that there are temple inscriptions on it.
"The question is that whether such images are there in any mosque," Justice Bobde asked.
If a "Sultan" or "Nabab" or a King gave an "un-Islamic" or "Unquranic" edict, the structure does not become "un-Islamic", Mr Dhavan said, adding that there were no images on the west wall of structure and Muslims pray with their face towards west.
Justice Chandrachud said the presence of such images on the site could be because of the "cultural assimilation" and the religions, which came from outside, adopted some features of Indic faiths also.
Mr Dhavan agreed with the observations and said the purpose of showing these images by Hindus was to prove that this mosque was not a mosque at all.
Justice Bobde then asked, "Has any witness said that this (pictures) was because of any cultural assimilation".
Mr Dhavan replied in negative.
He assailed the HC verdict saying that it did not consider a report of four famous historians, including Irfan Habib, on the existence of Ram temple at Ayodhya on the site of Babri mosque.
The report had stated that the site where Babri Masjid stood could not have been the birthplace of Lord Ram, he said, adding that it was not considered because one of the historians, D N Jha, did not sign it.
"Who asked them to give the report," the bench asked, adding, "at the highest", the report could be considered as an opinion.
Mr Dhavan said that according to the report the belief that temple was destroyed gained ground for the first time in 19th century.
This report was filed in response to the version given by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the bench said, adding that "this is not the opinion of the historians based on the archeological excavations and the report".
Moreover, it said the historians were not cross-examined during the hearing.
At the outset, Mr Dhavan referred to the u-turn made by the Shia Wakf Board and referred to the earlier statement made by one Prince Anjum Khadar in which he had said that the land belonged to "Allah" and there was a mosque in existence.
He said here Shias have said they have no objection if the land is given to Hindus for constructing temple.
He also referred to the testimonies of Hindu witnesses including one T P Verma to buttress the case.
The advancing of arguments remained will resume on Wednesday.
The Allahabad High Court, in its judgment of 2010 on four civil lawsuits, had partitioned the 2.77-acre disputed land equally among Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. Fourteen appeals have been filed in the Supreme Court against the verdict.
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