‘I have been informed that Mr. Madani has indicated that I was removed from the case because I was unwell, this is total nonsense’: Rajeev Dhavan
NEW DELHI| Lawyer Rajeev Dhavan, who appeared for Muslim petitioners in the landmark Ayodhya temple mosque case, posted on Facebook today that he had been sacked unceremoniously by the group Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind over reasons he called “total nonsense”. On Monday the Jamiat had filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to review its verdict last month on the decades-old Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri mosque dispute.
“Just been sacked from the Babri case by Advocate-on-record Ejaz Maqbool who was representing the Jamiat. Have sent formal letter accepting the ‘sacking’ without demur. No longer involved in the review or the case,” Rajeev Dhavan posted on his Facebook wall.
“I have been informed that Mr. Madani (Jamiat chief 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 Ejaz Maqbool to sack me which he did on instructions. But the reason being floated is malicious and untrue,” wrote the senior lawyer.
“I don’t know what their compulsions were but they confirmed to me it was a sacking. Now they are saying that I was sick and unavailable, it is a lie,” Rajeev Dhavan told news agency ANI later.
But as the news emerged, other Muslim petitioners clarified that Rajeev Dhavan remained their lawyer and had been removed only by the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind.
“There are five other parties who want to keep Rajeev Dhavan as lead lawyer in the case. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) is trying to convince him to argue for other Muslim parties,” said MR Shamshad, a lawyer for the Muslim personal law board.
He added that the sacking would “send a wrong signal”, that it was Mr. Dhavan who gave the final shape to the case from the Muslim side.
“Dr. Dhavan has put his heart and soul in the matter and has been the main counsel for all the six-seven Muslim parties. Because of one party, the other parties will not run away. They will persuade Dr. Dhavan to remain in the matter,” Mr. Shamshad through twitter.
Ejaz Maqbool, the Jamiat lawyer, said the organization wanted to file its review petition yesterday, but Mr. Dhavan was not available. “I could not give his name in the petition because he was not available. It is not a big issue,” Mr. Maqbool told ANI.
Mr. Maqbool said it was wrong to say Rajeev Dhavan was removed because of his illness.
The Jamiat’s is the first review petition after the Supreme Court’s November 9 decision on the disputed land where the Babri mosque stood before it was razed in December 1991 by Hindu activists who believed it was built on the ruins of an ancient temple marking the birthplace of Lord Ram.
The Supreme Court ruled that the 2.77-acre land belongs entirely to the deity Ram Lalla (the infant Lord Ram) and ordered that Muslims be given a prominent five-acre site elsewhere in Ayodhya. The Supreme Court also said that Muslims had been wrongly deprived of a mosque which had been constructed well over 450 years ago.
Jamiat chief Maulana Arshad Madani has claimed a majority of the country’s Muslim population is against the landmark verdict.