Wednesday 11 December 2019

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Ayodhya: The SC is not infallible

 

The attempts to reconstruct religious history in stone, cement and marble should come to a halt.



With the judgment on Ayodhya dispute after a decade, the curtains are finally down on a contentious issue. The matter was only fomenting divisiveness and conflict. Its disruptive power would multiply during elections as rightist parties would make it as one of the prime agenda. The BJP came to be known as the temple party after it successfully did political mobilization on the plank of building the Ram temple. Overt and covert minority bashing and communally divisive campaign has been a routine for over a decade. So were riots and deaths.

The judgment should bring cheer to both the communities. As the disputed area is allotted to the Hindus, it is natural for the community to feel elated and for the ‘hindutva’ fanatics to be on a soaring pitch. If the judgment does not broker harmony between communities, at least, it is expected to close bitterness.   

The court has reserved the disputed land for a trust to be set up and managed by the Centre to supervise the construction of the Ram temple. The Muslim community is to be compensated through separate five acre plot at prominent location in Ayodhya for the construction of a mosque.  There could have been better options for the use of the disputed land. It could freeze the same for secular activity such as education or hospital and both communities provided alternative sites.

The Courts should not enter the area of giving birth certificates along with their places of birth to mythological figures, whether heroes or devils. The court should have sternly communicated on the mobilization of mobs by BJP, VHP and allied organizations with the intent to demolish the Babri Masjid. Though the Bench has observed that the demolition in 1992 was a violation of the rule of law, the message it sends should not whittle down to----“Demolish first and later approach us”. Giving the land to the same forces after the vandalism is akin to some sort of endorsement. This is giving a prize without penalty for committing a worst foul. It is a part of record that Lord Rama appeared under the central dome of the mosque in 1949 when an idol was placed. Ostensibly, the mosque was built by Babar in the 16th century.

The matter before the Supreme Court was an appeal against the order of the Allahabad High Court where the disputed land admeasuring 2.77 acres was to be divided amongst the three parties to the dispute. Supreme Court holding that the order defies logic has thought it fit to give to neither and entrust it to a trust to be managed by the Centre. The scales of justice of the five-member Constitution Bench shifted to the side of the faith, belief and sentiment of Hindu devotees claiming the site as birthplace of Lord Rama. The logic in this is equally beyond comprehension.

The Supreme Court is not infallible. However, the judgment is unanimous. A five member Constitution Bench heard the matter for 40 days without interruption and also took the inputs from a team of mediators. It should be respected and taken as a final closure.  If the judgment satisfies the two communities as the same was preceded by mediation, the chapter should stand sealed without adverse scrutiny of the order. At the same time, there should be an in-built embargo on the RSS, VHP and allied organizations for raising such demands and inciting communal flames at other locations. There are attempts to rewrite social and political history by the right wing brigade. The attempts to reconstruct religious history in stone, cement and marble should come to a halt.

Civilized and cultured communities and nations pet their weak and minorities. Lord Rama is comfortably ensconced in every gully, by-lane and highway of Bharat. It should not matter to Ram Bhakts if another alternative Bhumi was provided. The tri-color would have fluttered on the dome of the Supreme Court with added prestige. The less privileged in numbers should not be battered, pressurized and pushed to tight corners. The Chief Justice of India took the unprecedented step to meet the Chief Secretary of UP to take stock of security ahead of the verdict. Such a judicial outreach drama was not required. However, if the CJI stays away from any post-retirement legal office or gubernatorial position maintaining a cooling off period of 18 months, it would bolster public confidence in the verdict.




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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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