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Column: Ram Mandir: SC Has Done The Best It Could Have

By Sandeep Sahu

Judicial pronouncements invariably go away one facet disgruntled. So, it was not precisely a shock to see the Muslim events really feel exhausting finished by the lengthy awaited Supreme Courtroom verdict within the vexed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute on Saturday.

Whereas the petitioners themselves have been relatively subdued in expressing their disappointment, the virulence with which some main commentators have slammed the judgment is relatively stunning. A few of them have gone on to impute motives to the apex court docket and accusing the discovered judges of surrendering/pandering to the majoritarian narrative dominating the nationwide discourse today. “Violence has been rewarded,” screamed. “Vandalism legitimized,” stated one other. “High minded secular rhetoric doesn’t blunt majoritarian edge of ruling,” wrote columnist Akaar Patel in The Instances of India.

There have been events within the latest previous when the Supreme Courtroom ruling on a case has defied all logic, purpose and the precept of truthful play, most notably within the court docket’s refusal to entertain a plea looking for a reopening of the case involving the mysterious loss of life of Decide Loya. However the verdict on Babri Masjid title swimsuit, I’m afraid, just isn’t one among them. Given the complexities of the case and the sensitivities concerned, the Supreme Courtroom has finished the very best it may have finished.

The thrust of the criticism directed on the verdict of the five-judge bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi is that it has been influenced by majoritarian sentiments. “Once you concede that the surreptitious placing of the Ram Lalla idol in the mosque on the night of December 22-23, 1949 and the demolition of the mosque on December 6, 1992 were illegal acts, how can you then go on to award the disputed piece of land to the very same the people who were responsible for the demolition in the first place?” goes the reasoning.

However then the court docket was not deciding both of those two circumstances. The case on the demolition is being heard by the court docket individually. What the court docket was listening to as an alternative was a civil swimsuit over a chunk of two.77 acre land. Primarily based on the irrefutable proof offered by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), the principle plank on which the decision rested, {that a} pillared, no-Islamic construction resembling a temple did exist beneath the now demolished mosque, I’m wondering how the bench may have determined in any other case. True, the ASI report arrived at this conclusion primarily based on the artefacts and architectural fragments discovered throughout excavation of the positioning. However as a number of authorized consultants have emphasised, not like in a prison case the place the details of the case need to be established past doubt, civil fits often take recourse to what could also be referred to as the ‘law of probability’ in circumstances the place issues can’t be settled past any doubt. Within the absence of irrefutable proof, the SC has finished simply that on this case.

The issue with this line of criticism is that it refuses to acknowledge the tell-tale archeological proof out there on the place from the interval earlier than 1528, when the Babri Masjid was constructed by Babar’s normal Mir Baqi. I’ve a sneaking suspicion this refusal to see the plain is deliberate as a result of it doesn’t actually go together with the ‘Muslims wronged’ narrative the critics have been pursuing. If something, it runs the danger of portraying the Hindus too as a wronged neighborhood. If the decision is an ‘injustice’ to the Muslims, would it not have been ‘justice’ if the land had been handed over the Muslim events disregarding all of the archeological proof positioned earlier than the court docket? Equally, the argument that the disputed piece of land was, in impact, given to those that demolished the Babri Mosque is relatively disingenuous. Absolutely, these commentators know that the possession of the land has been vested with a belief to be fashioned by the Authorities of India inside three months and never the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, the VHP backed outfit.

Some quarters have additionally voiced the apprehension that the award of the land to the Hindu facet would encourage the forces of Hindutva to rake up related politically motivated campaigns in Kashi, Mathura and different locations sacred to the Hindus. That is actually a sound apprehension. Positive, there’s a legislation in place – the Locations of Worship (Particular Provisions) Act, 1991 – that protects the spiritual character of all locations of worship as they existed on the time of independence. Having simply tasted ‘victory’ in an necessary case, they Hindutva forces could also be mendacity low for the second. However given their belligerence, nothing stops them from raking up Kashi or Mathura in future, regardless of the existence of the 1991 Act. In spite of everything, wasn’t “Faith is greater than law” their battle cry in the course of the Ram Janmabhoomi motion? However the query is: was the Supreme Courtroom anticipated to issue on this chance whereas ruling on the title swimsuit available?

Whether or not Lord Ram was born at this specific place – and even whether or not Ram was a historic character – is solely within the realm of religion and subsequently open to dispute. Even the query whether or not the Ram temple was demolished to make method for the Babri Masjid couldn’t be settled by the court docket on the proof out there. However what has been established past any shred of doubt is {that a} Hindu temple did exist beneath the place the place the mosque stood earlier than 1992. As soon as this primary premise was settled, there was just one method the SC may have determined and it has finished simply that. The truth that the court docket felt the necessity to summon its powers below Article 142 of the Structure to award 5 acres of land in Ayodhya for the development of a mosque suggests it was aware of the damage sentiments of the Muslims neighborhood.

However Muslim damage could be actually assuaged – and some of the extended disputes within the nation’s historical past would have an actual closure – solely when the culprits liable for the destruction of the Babri Masjid, maybe the second largest blot on the secular cloth of the nation after the partition riots, are punished. Now that the Supreme Courtroom has emphatically and unambiguously referred to as it ‘an egregious violation of the rule of law’, right here is hoping that the bench listening to the case would expedite the listening to and dispense justice quickly.

(DISCLAIMER: That is an opinion piece. The views expressed are the creator’s personal and don’t have anything to do with OTV’s constitution or views. OTV doesn’t assume any duty or legal responsibility for a similar.)

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