Monday 04 December 2023

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Ayodhya Verdict: Questionable Doctrines


The verdict of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court dumped in cold storage the main issue of title to the disputed properties. It looked as if the Court took a non-adversarial and friendly approach.........

The verdict of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court dumped in cold storage the main issue of title to the disputed properties. It looked as if the Court took a non-adversarial and friendly approach, almost acting as an arbitrator rather than the law giver. This is a fit example of judicial appeasement akin to what a committee of Indian bureaucrats would have done. If this was the final determination that had to come, one fails to understand, how this could take six decades. Or is this a judicial innovation to heal wounds, cool tempers and comfort the litigating groups?  Delayed justice sucks the expectations of litigants and facilitates acceptance of judicial order. Maybe, this is a new judicial drug put on a sample test.

The whole nation was put under the siege of military and security forces with frequent appeals to the people to maintain calm and peace. There were apprehensions that a property dispute over a 2.7 acre plot could flare up communal tension throughout the country. Undoubtedly, the judgement provided comfort and a no-profit-no loss feeling to both the communities. Though, the verdict has caused least community disturbance, the basis for the verdict is most disturbing.

I have nothing to say on the formula of one-third sharing by the three parties to the petition----The Hindu Mahasabha, The Sunni Wakf Board and the Nirmohi Akhara. I would be happy if all the parties agree to convert the entire disputed area into a national monument. But, I know this is wishful thinking because we all are Hindus and Mussalmans first and Indians later. This is the patriotism that we espouse. If we give a decent burial to the Mandir-Masjid issue, what other agenda do our politicians, religious and community leaders have? We need all our leaders. They need us as followers. So, this issue has to remain for the centenary celebrations of our Independence!

To my mind, it is only a feigned maturity that the political parties have shown on the day of the Ayodhya verdict. All are guarded in their reactions. In a couple of months, you will see the mobilisation by the  Vishwa  Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS). The Congress will reinforce itself as the saviour of secularism and minority interests. Come election time and we will have the action replay. The uncommon wealth of the Commonwealth Games would be forgotten.

Let me turn to the negative precedents of the verdict.

I do not know whether the birth place of Sri Ram was a subject for determination by the High Court. However, the honourable judges have attested that Sri Ram was born on the disputed spot. This is an exceptional example of judicial ratification of faith and belief, which can mark the beginning of falling faith in judiciary itself. Was the judiciary invoking a new principle in jurisprudence, namely, the doctrine of faith?

The High Court also ruled that there was no mosque existing at the disputed site since Babar built the structure against the tenets of Islam. There is no evidence that Babar built the structure by destroying an existing Hindu temple. There is only evidence of ruins of a Hindu religious structure.  Admittedly, this was done somewhere in 1528. The Court has given legitimacy to the unauthorised entry and placing of Hindu idols at the disputed structure on 23rd December, 1949. However, the Court is silent on the demolition of the structure by a planned and organised mobilisation of “kar sevaks” in full gaze of public, media and law enforcing agencies. Is this an attempt by the High Court to invoke the doctrine of retribution? A wrong of 1528 is set right by another two wrongs in 1949 and 1992. Is this a judicial recognition to rewrite historical incidents and accidents by deliberate wrongs in the modern times?

The ruling on the distribution of the properties has no link to what is prayed for by the petitioners. Probably, the High Court has initiated its own doctrine of compromise. The High Court has offered a formula providing properties to all the three parties. Here also, the distribution is equal but may not be equitable. Probably, the High Court thought it fit to close the issue in view of the failure of the litigating parties to come to an amicable settlement.

Granting the credit to the High Court for evolving what appears to be an acceptable formula for settlement of the dispute having national importance and ramifications, the rulings on matters beyond the legal brief should have been avoided. It is these rulings which will now be contested in the Supreme Court  by all the parties. The myths of Sri Ram and the ghost of Babar will rein the political skies for a pretty long time.

It is a largely a verdict on Sri Ram. The basis is the age old faith, belief  and worship by Hindus all over. The High Court has set a questionable precedent by ruling on figures from ancient Indian history, mythology and the epics.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

Finding faults with the judgement is very easy and no judgement would have satisfied all the parties concerned!

60 years for the judgement are comparatively less period as to clear the backlog of over 3 crores of cases in various courts could take more than 100 years as is said by one of the Judges!

India has many other priorities before it which need to be addressed rather than fighting with each other and breaking heads over the issues of Temple and Masjid!

The corrupt politicians do inflame the passions of the masses for their own selfish motives and make the poor people fight with each other. The corrupt politicians always love the troubled waters because they can fish in that!

A true patriot should never get carried away by the inflammatory speeches of the corrupt because there are many priority areas needing his urgent attention rather than keep fighting on the issue of Temple and Masjid!

Vishwas Prabhudesai |

All three Judges were unanimous on the birthplace of Lord Ram, below the central dome. The basis is doctrine of faith. The land did not belong to anyone but the government. Historians may be unhappy about it because they were not consulted. The Court's judgment was accepted by all and seemingly ended peaceably. Whether this could have been achievable by politicians, bureaucrats is immaterial. So long as further sub-surface rumblings do not occur based on this elsewhere, we should let the sleeping lions lie and go on with our lives.

ludovico |

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Prabhakar Timble

Mr Prabhakar Timble is an educationist and a legal expert. He has served several educational institutions, especially as the Principal of Government College at Quepem, Kare College of Law in Madgao as well as couple of Management Institutes. He was also the State Election Commissioner of Goa.


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