Ram Janmbhoomi, shouting brigade, and polls
by Vinod Bansal on 23 Dec 2017 2 Comments

The media channels, politicians, social workers and common citizens were busy speculating what would happen in the apex court as the Ram Janmabhumi case was to be heard on a day-to-day basis. Many petitions/appeals were made, dozens of learned advocates were ready to argue, and many new applications were filed to become party to the case. The Hon’ble Judges were to find a solution to the 77-year-old high profile litigation. Almost all concerned were hopeful that something new would come up after the day-long hearing on 5 December 2017, the date decided by the Supreme Court 116 days earlier (on 11 August 2017).


The proceedings began at 2 p.m., with the court room full with advocates, attorneys, plaintiffs, defendants, appellants, respondents, et al. Senior Advocates K. Parasaran, C.S. Vaidyanathan, Harish Salve and Vikramjit Banerjee of Sri Ram Lala Virajman started their arguments but the other side interrupted them on several occasions. Hearing of the matter itself was strenuously opposed by former Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal and senior counsels Dushyant Dave and Rajeev Dhawan.


Sibal charged that the hearing was being made at the instance of the Bharatiya Janata Party, as it figured in the BJP manifesto; he referred to a letter Subramanian Swamy addressed to the Prime Minister. He urged that the matter should be heard only in July 2019, after the completion of this government’s tenure and the subsequent election process.


Sibal and Dave also stated that the judgment in this case will affect the secular fabric of the country and would have repercussions outside the court and hence the Court should not hear it. Instead of three, a seven-judge bench should be constituted as the matter is of high importance. Dhawan told the Chief Justice of India that the judges cannot conclude hearings within their tenure. Sibal even threatened to walk out of the proceedings if the hearing commenced. The documents run into 90,000 pages and all exhibits have not been filed.


Counsels for Ram Lala Virajman opposed the repeated interruptions, arguing that it is merely a first appeal arising out of a title suit and there is no question as to interpretation of the constitution as required under Art. 145. The bench accepted the contention and said that at this stage there were no questions which would require reference to a larger bench, but if the occasion arose, they would consider it.


When C.S. Vaidyanathan open his arguments and placed his submission before the court, the other side again started objecting to the proceedings, saying that the documents run into 90,000 pages and all exhibits have not been filed. The counsels for Ram Lala Virajman apprised the court that they had filed all their documents and it is only the other side that has not filed their exhibits which were very few in number. The State of Uttar Pradesh has also filed all the translated statements as directed by the court on 11 August 2017.


It was unfortunate that on the very first day of the hearing of the first appeal, politics, threats, indecency and illogical arguments were seen in the highest judiciary. First of all, how can the manifesto of a political party affect the proceedings and judgement? If anything happens outside the court, it is the duty of the government to tackle it or approach the court in the matter (if required). But justice can neither be delayed nor denied on this ground. Secondly, how could senior counsels compel the court that the case be heard only by a five- or seven-judge bench instead of the existing bench of three judges headed by the Chief Justice? Being the highest judiciary of the country, most Supreme Court Judges are left with very short tenures. How could counsels stop the hearings on this illogical ground? Above all, it was shocking that senior counsels not only shouted and disturbed the court, but also threatened to boycott the proceedings. 


In another case before the apex court, due to repeated disruptions and disrespect by the shouting brigade, the Supreme Court on Thursday, 7 December, warned the senior advocates and lawyers to rein in their tendency to raise their voice during arguments when they found the court disagreeing with them.

Taking strong exception to the repeated tactics employed by the shouting brigade, a five-judge constitution bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan said, “Lawyers are called the ministers of justice. They are also referred to as officers of the court. But unfortunately, a small group of lawyers raise their voice. They must understand absolutely clearly that raising their voice is not going to be tolerated. Raising the voice means either the lawyer is incompetent to present the case or he is inadequately prepared with the case.”


Referring to the arguments advanced by senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Dushyant Dave and Rajeev Dhawan in the Ayodhya case on Tuesday, and the manner in which Dhawan argued on Wednesday for the Delhi government in its turf war with the Centre, the Chief Justice said, “We are compelled to connect it (expression of anguish) to yesterday’s incident (when the bench expressed dissatisfaction with Dhawan’s tone and tenor of arguments in the Delhi case). Behaviour of the senior counsel was atrocious yesterday. Day before yesterday (in Ayodhya case), it was even more atrocious. The senior counsel (Dhawan) who argued on Wednesday (in Delhi case) contradicted the other counsel for Delhi government, Indira Jaisingh. Same client had many counsel. Different and contradictory arguments were advanced by the counsel for the same party. How does the court discern what is the stand of the party? This is not the tradition of the bar. If the bar does not regulate, we will be compelled to regulate.”


Judges have the highest respect in our country. But unfortunately, it is evident that some advocates believe that they could influence the judiciary and do anything they want. It is high time this shouting brigade was handled firmly, either through the Bar or through the courts’ verdict. Nobody could be allowed to cross the limits of the constitution or judicial pronouncements.


Non-serious litigations and counsels for vested political interests should also be dealt with firmly. The first hearing of the Ram Janmabhumi case became victim of the shouting brigade’s threats, Congress politics and non-serious players; but it exposed the hidden agenda of the Congress and like-minded influential people who might have been infiltrated into our top constitutional bodies.


The poll results of two states reveal that the people are aware of such behaviour and tactics of anti-Hindu divisive forces who may at any time attack any constitutional body. Every citizen is of the opinion that it is high time to regain the glory of the Ram Temple at the birth place of Sri Ram in pious Ayodhya and declare the pride of Bharat, the Ram Setu, a national monument.


The author is a social worker, columnist & national spokesperson of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad; Twitter: @vinod_bansal; Email: vinodbansal01@gmail.com

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