Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi today condemned the claims of minister from Uttar Pradesh who claimed that the Ram temple the BJP promised in Ayodhya will be built, "since the Supreme Court is ours". "We deprecate such statements," said Chief Justice Gogoi, who is heading the five judge constitution bench that is hearing the case on title dispute on a daily basis.
On the 22nd day of hearing, lawyer activist Rajeev Dhavan -- who is representing the Muslim parties -- told the court that the atmosphere is not conducive to continue arguments on the matter.
He said fresh threats have been made to his legal team's clerk by other clerks and cited the comments made by Mukut Bihari Verma, the cooperative minister in Uttar Pradesh.
In September last year, the minister had said, "The BJP has come to power on the issue of development but Ram Mandir will be constructed as it is our determination. The matter is in Supreme Court and the Supreme Court is ours. The judiciary, administration, the nation as well as the Ram Temple belong to us".
Following huge criticism after the video clip of his comment was widely circulated, the minister said he meant that the top court belongs to the people of the country. "By the word - ours - I meant the 125 crore people of the country. It was not a reference to the BJP or me," he said.
As soon the hearing began, Mr Dhavan told the court that a week ago, he received a threatening message on Facebook warning that "they will see him outside the court".
"I cannot go on filing contempt after contempt," said the lawyer, who has already filed a contempt petition against a 88-yr-old, who allegedly cursed him.
"This should not be happening in the country. We deprecate such statements... Both sides are free to put their arguments before court without any fear," Chief Justice Gogoi said. The court also asked Mr Dhavan if he needs security, but he has declined the offer.
The dispute involves 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya, where a 16th Century mosque -- said to have been built by Mughal emperor Babur - once stood. In December 1992, it was razed by Hindu activists who believe that the mosque was built on the ruins of a temple that marked the birthplace of Lord Ram. In the days that followed, 2,000 people died in riots across the country.
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