As Hindu parties seek to "reclaim" monuments built during the Mughal era, the litigation in various courts, involving a wide array of questions of law and fact on the issue, appears to be reaching a fever pitch.
And at the forefront of these legal battles for the Hindu parties is Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain.
Jain is involved as a lawyer in the Gyanvapi Mosque dispute, the Mathura Shahi Idgah case, and the Qutub Minar complex dispute, among others.
Bar & Bench's Debayan Roy caught up with Jain at Varanasi, where he is appearing for the Hindu parties in the Gyanvapi case.
Edited excerpts from the conversation follow.
On the fundamental right to worship in the Gyanvapi case
Right to worship is a fundamental right and the most important one for devotees across the country enshrined under Article 25 of the Constitution. Hindu customary law also provides for it. After the commission survey is over and with the shivling being found, our contention is that this property has all the characteristics of a Hindu temple. My deity is also there, so it can never be a mosque under Islamic law.
Therefore, I have a right to worship there. My prayer, therefore, is to seek right to perform darshan of the deities.
On the Places of Worship Act argument
Using that Act is a tricky argument as far as the Muslims are concerned. The Act requires religious character of a structure to be determined. Thus, a mosque cannot be said to a mosque forever if a temple was there that was demolished and converted.
This has to be ascertained while determining the religious character of the property in question. In this instant case, Shivling being found there means the Act will apply in my favour.
What about the fact that till 1992 (Act was enacted in 1991) we used to puja there? In whose favour the Act will apply is subject to evidence.
When will such matters come to an end?
There will be an end to it when we get all our cultural heritage restored. If there is a temple that has been destroyed, our legal team and fraternity will fight for the restoration of our glorious past and will not stop till then.
What is the future course of action, if the suit before the Varanasi court is held to be not maintainable?
Assuming that the Places of Worship Act is relied on to hold that my suit is barred, and my plaint is rejected under Order 7 Rule 11, I will file an appeal before the Allahabad High Court.
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