Senior lawyer Rajeev Dhavan, who represented Muslim parties in Ayodhya case, sacked; says he accepts decision 'without demur'

FP Staff

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan who represented the Muslim side in the historic Ayodhya land title dispute case, on Tuesday said that he was 'sacked' by an Islamic body that has decided to file a review petition in court.

"Just been sacked from the Babri case by AOR [advocate on record] Ejaz Maqbool who was representing the Jamiat... No longer involved in the review or the case," Dhavan was quoted as saying by ANI. The senior advocate said that he has accepted the 'sacking' 'without demur'.

"I have been informed that [AIMPLB's Maulana Arshad Madani] has indicated that I was removed from the case because I was unwell. This is total nonsense. He has a right to instruct his lawyer AOR Ejaz Maqbool to sack me which he did on instructions. But the reason being floated is malicious and untrue," he further added.

The Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment last month ended a centuries-old land dispute €" also at the heart of communal distress in the past €" by awarding the entire disputed site to Hindus for the construction of a Ram Temple. The court, however, did acknowledge that the demolition of Babri Mosque and the placing of idols inside it were illegal acts and therefore offered five acres land to Muslims as a remedy for the historic wrong.

Muslim parties expressed displeasure over the ruling and hinted that the court had bowed against the majoritarian will, even as they clarified that they accept the apex court's decision.

While key litigant, Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, decided against challenging the verdict, Maulana Syed Ashhad Rashidi, legal heir of original litigant M Siddiq and Uttar Pradesh president of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, sought review of the verdict on 14 counts.

The litigant, in review plea filed through lawyer Ejaz Maqbool, has also sought an interim stay on operation of the verdict in which it had directed the Centre that a trust be formed within three months for construction of the temple at the site.

Rashidi also questioned the direction asking the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government to allot five acres of land for construction of a mosque at a prominent place in Ayodhya, saying that such a prayer was never made by the Muslim parties.

It was also submitted that despite acknowledging several illegalities committed by the Hindu parties, including the destruction of the mosque at the disputed site, the apex court condoned them and granted the land to them.

"By virtue of the impugned judgment, this court has effectively granted a mandamus to destroy Babri Masjid and to construct a temple of Lord Ram in the said place," the plea said.

It said the judgement erred in disregarding the settled principle of law that a "tainted cause of action cannot be sustained or decreed in a civil suit".

Meanwhile, Dhavan, who drew illustrious praise for his representation of the Sunni Waqf Board and other Muslim parties in the sensitive case, will no longer be the part of these fresh hearings, if the court agrees to admit the petition.

"We acknowledge the assistance rendered by Dr Rajeev Dhavan, senior counsel, who led the arguments. Their fairness to the cause which they espouse and to their opponents as, indeed, to the court during the course of the hearings has facilitated the completion of the hearings in the spirit that all sides have ultimately been engaged in the search of truth and justice," the Supreme Court said.

The 74-year-old senior advocate had given up practice following his courtroom spat with then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. On 11 December, 2017, he had called it quits after what he described was a "humiliating end" to the Delhi government-Centre dispute case.

An alumnus of Universities of Allahabad, Cambridge and London, Dhavan faced death threats in and outside the Supreme Court for representing Muslim parties in the case.

Dhavan has represented a number of high-profile cases like the Ayodhya dispute, SEBI- Sahara, Rohingya refugees among others.

With inputs from agencies

Also See: AIMPLB can't file Ayodhya review petition as 'it is not party' to land dispute case, claims All India Hindu Mahasabha lawyer

To tackle nepotism, bad appointments by collegiums, rigorous selection a must: Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan

'Behave yourself, Mr Dhavan': SC sees heated exchange of words during hearing in Ayodhya dispute

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