Supreme Court dismisses all review petitions against Ayodhya verdict – News18

Supreme Court Judges

News18A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S.A. Nazeer and Sanjeev Khanna considered the review pleas of only those who were parties to the four lawsuits filed initially in the vexatious dispute, and rejected all of them. – News18

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed all the review petitions challenging a Constitution Bench’s order in the Ayodhya case that had cleared the way for construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site.

The top court, which took these review pleas for consideration in-chamber, rejected them after finding no merit. A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S.A. Nazeer and Sanjeev Khanna considered the review pleas of only those who were parties to the four lawsuits filed initially in the vexatious dispute.

There were 18 review petitions, out of which nine have been filed by parties who were part of the earlier litigation and the other nine were filed by “third parties”.The apex court refused to entertain nine review pleas filed by those who were not party to the original litigation. Among the nine “third parties” were 40 rights activists who had jointly moved the top court seeking review of its verdict.
s also get dismissed.

A 5-judge bench, headed by the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, had in a unanimous verdict on November 9 decreed the entire 2.77 acre disputed land in favour of deity Ram Lalla and also directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot to Sunni Waqf Board at an alternative site for building a mosque in Ayodhya.

A number of Muslim parties, including some supported by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, 40 activists, Hindu Mahasabha and the Nirmohi Akhara were among the parties who approached the apex court.

The petitioners had said they were aggrieved by the court’s decision, and stated that the decision needs to be reconsidered as there were errors apparent on the face of the record.

The Muslim side filed a review petition against the verdict contending that the relief to Hindu parties amounted to rewarding illegal acts of trespass and demolition committed against the mosque. The judgment was mostly based on Hindu faith than secular principles, contended another set of review petitions filed by persons backed by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

Nirmohi Akhara, whose claims of shebait (or management) of the deity were dismissed by the Court, had also sought review of the verdict.

Later, forty civil rights activists, who were not parties in the original case, had filed a review petition. They contended that the verdict impacted “the syncretic culture of the country and its secular fabric envisaged in the Constitution”.

A five-judge bench, headed by then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, had in a unanimous verdict on November 9 decreed the entire 2.77 acre disputed land in favour of deity Ram Lalla and also directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot to Sunni Waqf Board at an alternative site for building of a mosque in Ayodhya. – News18, 12 December 2019

Proposed Ram Temple at Ayodhya


 

AIMPLB, Jamiat petitions Supreme Court for review of Ayodhya judgement – R. Jagannathan

Muslim Law Board

Swarajya MagazineThe AIMPLB want to keep the flame of communal tensions alive for their own narrow purposes. They remain in perpetual denial about the destruction of temples during Islamic rule. – R. Jagannathan

The decisions of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind to file review petitions against the Supreme Court verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi case tells us two things: one, many Muslim organisations, egged on by Leftist trouble-makers, want to keep the flame of communal tensions alive for their own narrow purposes; and two, they will remain in perpetual denial about the destruction of temples during Islamic rule.

The first point is obvious, since the AIMPLB explicitly promised to abide by any court verdict repeatedly before 9 November. By now changing its tune when the verdict went the other way, it is clearly guilty of making false promises. Its decision to seek a review of the unanimous verdict of a five-judge bench, with one sitting chief justice and two future chief justices, is driven by mala fide intentions.

But the larger worry is that Muslims will be in implicit denial of the depredations of former Islamic rulers. This does not augur well for the future of Hindu-Muslim relations.

Soon after the verdict, the AIMPLB made the unambiguous claim that “the land of the mosque belongs to Allah and under the Sharia it cannot be given to anybody”. As this writer pointed out in an earlier article, India is not governed by the Sharia but by the Indian Constitution. The more worrisome aspect of this statement is that Muslims will not even acknowledge the reality that a mosque was built over the remains of a temple – and this is the case with hundreds of mosques in India.

One can always challenge a court judgement on technical grounds, but what the Supreme Court verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi case did was to use the law of adverse possession creatively to deliver civilisational justice to Hindus, who were wronged by the actions of bigoted and iconoclastic rulers in the past. These wrongs continue to be denied in the present by their religious successors – present-day Islamic organisations.

Just as Hindus can never remain in denial about caste injustices, Muslims can’t remain in denial of their own past, when temples were destroyed by bigoted rulers.

The Jamiat and the AIMPLB have a legal right to challenge any Supreme Court verdict, but they have no right to deny Hindus civilisational justice by refusing to acknowledge past injustices. The Ram Janmabhoomi verdict was minor recompense for widespread destruction of Hindu lives and temple properties in the past. It shows that they are unwilling to truly move towards a healthier relationship with Hindus of present-day India.

The Supreme Court should not only reject the review petitions peremptorily, but also deliver a stinging rebuke to the parties that want to deny the wrongs of the past. – Swarajya, 3 Decemeber, 2019

R. Jagannathan is the editorial director of Swarajya.

Subramanian Swamy

PGURUSSubramanian Swamy urges for amendments in the Places of Worship Act of 1991. – Team PGurus

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring amendments in the Places of Worship Act 1991, citing that certain provisions in the Act is against the spirit of Fundamental Right of Freedom of Worship, enshrined in the Constitution of India. In his letter, Swamy pointed out that Section 4 of the Places of Worship Act must be amended as it is ultra vires of the Right to Worship.

The Places of Worship Act passed by Narasimha Rao’s Government in September 1991 was brought in context to control the Sangh Parivar’s widespread movement for the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Section 4 of the Act says that except in the Ayodhya case, the status quo of temples and other worshiping areas will be maintained as on August 15, 1947, the day India attained Independence. As per this Act, no courts or tribunals can entertain cases on Temples and worshiping areas character and rights over it. This Act was enacted to prevent Sangh Parivar which has already sought the liberation of Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Mathura Sri Krishna Temple partially destroyed by Aurangzeb and masjids were constructed on them.

As the Ayodhya case was already in the Courts, the Government exempted it from controversial Places of Worship Act of 1991. The recent verdict of the Ayodhya case also gives details about this Act.

“I write this letter to seek your direction to the Ministry of Law to effect an amendment to The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 and in particular Section 4 which is offensive and ultra vires of my fundamental rights under Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution.  This Act was enacted by the Congress Government headed by Mr. Narasimha Rao. Fundamental Rights cannot be amended or modified by the Parliament or by any law passed by Parliament. It cannot have the overriding effect of extinguishing my fundamental right of freedom of worship under Article 25 and 26 as also faith enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution. This makes it a part of the Basic Structure of the Constitution.

Hence the Ministry of Law should bring an amendment to this Act starting that it is not applicable to those religious institutions where the question of fundamental right and faith is claimed. I shall seek an appointment with the Law Minister Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad to explain in detail this matter. I seek your intervention and appropriate direction to the Ministry of Law and Justice,” said Subramanian Swamy in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. – PGurus, 1 December 2019

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Aurangzeb's firman ordering the demolition of the Vishwanath Temple at Varanasi in August 1669 A.D.

See Aurangzeb’s temple-breaking legacy according to Mughal records – FACT


 

 

 

Cartels of discord defeated by the Ayodhya verdict – Anirban Ganguly

Ram Lalla Virajman of Ayodhya

Ayodhya Verdict Judges

Dr Anirban GangulyWhile Pakistan provides the logistical back-up for terrorism in the region, the cartel of radical Islamists, the Urban Naxals, the Communists and the Liberal Fundamentalists, by championing their “human rights” have tried to provide them legitimacy and create academic space for their abominable and anti-human ideological positions. – Dr. Anirban Ganguly

Like they waited with baited breath after the abrogation of Article 370, for the region and the country as a whole to erupt, the radical Islamists, the Urban Naxals, the Communists and the Liberal Fundamentalists waited in eager anticipation for India to erupt after the Ayodhya verdict on November 9th.

Kashmir disappointed them. There was no conflagration, no conflict and the separatist agendas could find no expression since August 5th.

Ayodhya too disappointed them—both in terms of the verdict and the quiet that followed it. The truck driver, the farmer, the apple orchard tender, the innocent shopkeeper who were killed by terrorists in various districts across Kashmir, were killed because they believed and hoped that the removal of 370 had opened up a new avenue of opportunities for them, they responded to PM Modi’s new narrative for the region and were mowed by terrorists propped up by Pakistan.

This is often ignored and deliberately obfuscated by the international proponents of human rights. While Pakistan provides the logistical back-up for terrorism in the region, the cartel of radical Islamists, the Urban Naxals, the Communists and the Liberal Fundamentalists, by championing their “human rights” have tried to provide them legitimacy and create academic space for their abominable and anti-human ideological positions. This cartel has tried to weave a narrative in support of terrorism and separatism worldwide and one of their best arguments in support of their effort is to speak of India’s descent into illiberalism.

Had there been unrest in the aftermath of the Ayodhya verdict, a situation which they tried to desperately create, these elements would have used that to try and buttress their false narrative of the end of India as a liberal democracy under Modi. The statements made by rubble parties such as the CPI(ML) and others, the observations made on social media by a section of the academics affiliated to the Left parties, the sense of fear and victimhood that they have tried to generate after the verdict, projecting India as a country in which minorities are feeling alienated, are being victimised, are being discriminated upon by the judiciary, is ominous, primarily because it proves that for these elements there is nothing sacrosanct about Constitutional institutions.

This trend is evil, it is a propensity towards betrayal and since these elements have access to a section of the Western academia and media, their views find space, are inflated and then trumpeted across the air. But again Modi’s New India triumphed. The PM’s approach leading up to the Ayodhya verdict, his tenacious and resilient determination to ensure that it heralds the beginning of a new era of synergy and cooperation, his heartfelt appeals saw the people respond; once more he proved that he directly speaks to the soul of India, to its collective psyche. The complete stability in the aftermath of Ayodhya, in itself, demonstrates that India under Modi is, in fact, evolving into a true liberal democracy. The message had gone through the rank and file, a true democratic spirit was displayed by legions of karyakartas, who fanned out across the country with a fraternal message, with the sense that this was a civilisational issue which had to now be sorted, and India had to move ahead.

The RSS and the VHP, at the forefront of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, displayed unparalleled sagacity and patience, thus puncturing the pseudo debate of an illiberal India. The BJP’s organisational discipline, the sense of unity and cohesion instilled in it were visible to all who cared to see it. Not one discordant note, no triumphalism, only quiet gratefulness that a deeply felt civilisational struggle and aspiration had finally concluded. The fact that not a single adverse incident had been reported was in itself a defeat for the cartels of discord. For others, it was a deeply civilisational moment. In reality it was a victory for New India. – The New Indian Express, 24 November 2019

› Dr Anirban Ganguly is the director of the Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.

The Indian Liberal


 

Let Ram be our unifier and liberator – Punarvasu Parekh

UP CM Yogi Adityanath during Diwali celebrations in Ayodhya.

Indians—Hindus and Muslims—must face their past squarely. No true reconciliation is possible by denying or distorting facts, however unpleasant they may be. Today’s Muslims cannot be blamed for what happened centuries ago, but then they should distance themselves from the misdeeds of their “heroes”. – Punarvasu Parekh

Mahant Avaidyanath was prophetic when he said “Ayodhya mein Ram mandir ka nahi, Hindu rashtra ka shilanyas hua hain,” after Rajiv Gandhi allowed the foundation-laying ceremony to be performed at the Ram Janmabhoomi complex in late 1989.

The last millennium opened with wanton destruction of Hindu temples at the hands of fanatic invaders. In a fitting preamble to the Hindu renaissance, the current one has opened with the successful culmination of a centuries-old struggle to restore one of the holiest among them. Happily, the success has been unambiguous, peaceful and legally sanctified.

The Supreme Court judgment in Ram Janmaboomi-Babri Mosque case is arguably the most important verdict in the history of independent India. No other judgment has had or is likely to have such far reaching influence on our society and polity. It is also among the best judgments delivered by any Indian court. It has settled a dispute that traced its origins to the medieval ages, had been a festering sore in the body politic through centuries and threatened to tear apart the social fabric of the country.

It is to the eternal credit of the Supreme Court that it decided such a complicated case in an unequivocal manner and through a unanimous judgment. If the sole Muslim judge had dissented, the whole bench would have looked communally polarized, seriously eroding the credibility of the judgment. While all the five judges share the credit, special mention must be made of the Chief Justice Ranjan Kumar Gogoi for his initiative, drive and determination to see the case through without compromising in any manner rights of the parties to present their case.

A mere title suit on the face of it, the Ayodhya dispute at a deeper level raised profound issues related to the legal sanctity of religious faith and belief, cultural content of Indian nationalism, nature of Indian society, interpretation of Indian history and, above all, the role and direction of the Indian State.

For this reason, there was a strong view that the matter should not be left to the courts to decide, but resolved through negotiations or legislative process. In retrospect, however, it is just as well that the solution had a stamp of approval of highest court of the land. In any negotiated settlement, the parties would have been vulnerable to the charges of naivety, intimidation or sellout. A law passed by parliament would have been viewed as a majoritarian act.

The Hindus have won not just a title suit, but vindication of their age-old faith, a 500-hundred-year old struggle to reclaim one of their holiest shrines and a symbolic but significant reversal of the tide of Islamic iconoclasm that has led to the destruction and desecration of thousands of their temples small and large across the sub-continent through the ages.

Ram, and not the temple, had been the core issue from the beginning. The Ram Janmabhoomi Movement was an expression of the collective consciousness of the Hindu ethos, a struggle for their cultural resurgence and national identity.

Was Babri Mosque a deep wound on India’s bosom, a symbol of national disgrace and humiliation at the hands of a fanatic foreign invader or was it part of “our composite cultural heritage”?

Before you begin to answer this question, you run into several others. Thus, is India the repository of a great ancient civilization or is it a “nation in the making”? Are Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana and Mahabharata treasures of the spiritual heritage of the Indian nation, or merely old texts highly regarded by “a section of the population”? Are Ram and Krishna symbols of India’s nationhood, or are they mythological figures revered by some sections of a community? Was Babur a fanatic foreign invader who inflicted a deep wound on the Indian nation by destroying the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple at Ayodhya, or just one among the many kings who ruled India in the medieval era? Were Rana Pratap and Shivaji national heroes fighting alien rule, or rebels against a central authority? Finally, do Hindus constitute the national society, or are they just one of the several communities inhabiting India?

The Supreme Court cannot address these issues and has not ventured to do so; but it has created an opportunity for the modern India to find correct answers to these questions.

The people of the country have shown great maturity in receiving the judgment. No chest thumping, no victory processions, no taunting or abusing by one side; nor any wailing, self-pitying, breast beating or victim playing by the other. Not a single untoward incident or a law-and-order problem anywhere. Only a quiet, dignified acceptance of the verdict in a long-standnig feud by the highest court of the land.

The self-styled “eminent” Leftist “historians” stand thoroughly discredited and exposed. There is blood on their hands. They must bear the largest portion of blame for all the violence and bad blood related to this dispute in the last three decades. With their lies and distortions on the history of the place, they misled the Muslim leadership, prompted it to take up a hard conciliatory position and effectively prevented an amicable solution which looked possible in late 1980s.

There have been some discordant noises, to be sure, by the usual suspects. We must respect their democratic right to dissent. One allegation is that the court has placed faith above facts, that it has succumbed to the majoritarian impulse of the ruling elite and has conferred a veneer of legality on the fait accompli presented by Hindu-appeasing governments and rowdy karsevaks from time to time.

This is not true. Yes, the court has said that “once the court has intrinsic material to accept that the faith or belief is genuine and not a pretense, it must defer to the belief of the worshipper. This, we must do well to recognize, applies to across the spectrum of religions and their texts, Hinduism and Islam among them. The value of a secular constitution lies in a tradition of equal deference.” However, it has also added that “the court cannot adopt a position that accords primacy to the faith and belief of a single religion as a basis to confer both judicial insulation as well as primacy over the legal system as a whole.”

Since faith and beliefs of all religions are entitled to equal respect in law, they cancel each other out when they conflict. Then the judgment must rest on factual evidence. This is what the court has done in the present case by applying principles of adverse possession, law of limitation and general rules of evidence to ascertain whose version is more cogent, consistent and probable. In a bid to do complete justice, it has used special powers under Article 142 to order grant of five acres of land at a prominent place in Ayodhya for a mosque to compensate Muslims for loss of a religious place.

Some commentators have accused the court of inconsistency and self-contraction. If the Muslims were wrongly deprived of a 450-year old mosque through its demolition in December 1992, as the court has said, then how can it go ahead and hand over the entire disputed area to the perpetrators of demolition? This is nothing short of rewarding vandalism and desecration, say the critics. Some leaders have used this argument to announce that “our fight was for mosque and not for 5 acres of land in charity.”

However, in totality of things, the mosque itself was a symbol of vandalism and desecration. If there was any doubt about it, the ASI report clinched the issue. The karsevaks, at worst, can be accused of taking the law in their hand.

What now? There is some loose talk of liberating Kashi and Mathura. However, the law of religious places passed by Narasimha Rao government in 1991 froze the status quo at all places except Ayodhya. More importantly, such a movement is unlikely to gain much traction among Hindus, at least in foreseeable future. The general mood in the community is to rejoice in the legal victory, build a grand temple in Ayodhya and get along with other, pressing problems of life.

Instead, Hindu organizations should focus their energies on liberating major temples from the government control. They should also take up the fight for the right of Hindus i.e. the numerous communities within the Hindu fold, to establish and manage religious and educational institutions of their choice.

Secondly, Indians—Hindus and Muslims—must face their past squarely. No true reconciliation is possible by denying or distorting facts, however unpleasant they may be. Today’s Muslims cannot be blamed for what happened centuries ago, but then they should distance themselves from the misdeeds of their “heroes”.

In fact, viewed in a proper historical perspective, Ram Janmabhoomi Movement was an opportunity for Muslims to rediscover and re-forge their links with their parent i.e. the Hindu society. The Hindus whom Babur sought to humiliate by desecrating the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple and building a mosque there, were ancestors of the present-day Muslims also. By distancing themselves from vandals of Islam, Muslims could gain ample goodwill and gratitude of among Hindus. The Hindus must always bear in mind that Muslims are their blood brothers, alienated by a foreign ideology of power masquerading as religion.

Leave the vicissitudes of history to historians. Let them write it honestly, in a clear and forthright manner. We ordinary folks must move on. Let Ram, who united the royalty and laity of his kingdom with tribals in forests and mountains in distant lands, bring together estranged brothers in his homeland. Let Ram, who liberated Sita from the bondage of Ravan, liberate us from the bondage of past and the past of bondage, and lead us to Ramarajya.

Punarvasu Parekh is an independent senior journalist in Mumbai.

Ram Janmabhumi Area Graphic


Sabarimala Issue: Seven questions the Supreme Court wants a seven-judge bench to address – Sanyukta Dharmadhikari

Judges vs Sabarimala

Sanyukta DharmadhikariThe majority judgement pointed out that the issue of women’s entry into Sabarimala also overlaps with other matters already pending in the apex court—like the case over the entry of Muslim women into mosques, the Parsi women’s case, and the case challenging the practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community. – Sanyukta Dharmadhikari

The five-judge Constitution Bench on Thursday in a 3:2 majority judgment referred the Sabarimala issue to a seven-judge Supreme Court bench, and posed seven questions for the larger bench to answer. The court said that matters that include interpretation of the Constitutional provisions that talk about the right to profess, practice and propagate religion should be heard by a larger bench.

While Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra delivered the majority judgment running into nine pages, Justices R.F. Nariman and D.Y. Chandrachud wrote a dissenting judgment that ran into 68 pages.

The majority judgement pointed out that the issue of women’s entry into Sabarimala also overlaps with other matters already pending in the apex court—like the case over the entry of Muslim women into mosques, the Parsi women’s case, and the case challenging the practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community. The court also stated that when more than one petition is pending on similar or overlapping issues, it is essential to judicial discipline and propriety to ensure a larger bench address the issues.

“The decision of a larger bench would put at rest recurring issues touching upon the rights flowing from Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India,” the majority judgement said.

The judgment also stated that the larger bench will also answer seven questions and issues put forth by the Supreme Court:

1. Clarify the interplay between the freedom of religion under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution and other provisions in Part III, particularly Article 14.

2. What is the sweep of expression ‘public order, morality and health’ occurring in Article 25(1) of the Constitution?

3. The expression ‘morality’ or ‘constitutional morality’ has not been defined in the Constitution. Is it over arching morality in reference to preamble, or limited to religious beliefs or faith? There is a need to delineate the contours of that expression, lest it becomes subjective.

4. What is the extent to which the court can enquire into the issue of whether a particular practice is an integral part of the religion or religious practice of a particular religious denomination, or should that be left exclusively to be determined by the head of the section of the religious group?

5. What is the meaning of the expression ‘sections of Hindus’ appearing in Article 25(2)(b) of the Constitution?

6. Are the “essential religious practices” of a religious denomination, or even a section thereof, afforded constitutional protection under Article 26?

7. What would be the permissible extent of judicial recognition to PILs in matters calling into question religious practices of a denomination or a section thereof at the instance of persons who do not belong to such religious denomination?

The Supreme Court said that until the larger bench decides on these seven issues, the 65 review petitions filed in court will remain pending. The next Chief Justice of India, S.A. Bobde, will be constituting this larger bench. Once the seven-judge bench answers these questions, the review petitions are likely to be taken up.

What the dissenting judgment said

Justice R.F. Nariman authored the dissenting judgment, with Justice D.Y. Chandrachud concurring with him, and ruled in favour of disposing of the review petitions. Justice R.F. Nariman disagreed with the majority judgment, stating that Supreme Court judgments (referring to SC’s 2018 verdict on Sabarimala) are binding.

“The position under our constitutional scheme is that the Supreme Court of India is the ultimate repository of interpretation of the Constitution. Once a Constitution Bench of five learned Judges interprets the Constitution and lays down the law, the said interpretation is binding not only as a precedent on all courts and tribunals, but also on the coordinate branches of government, namely, the legislature and the executive,” the dissenting judgment said.

The two judges also stated that the matters that have been referred to the larger bench have not specifically been mentioned as part of the Sabarimala review petitions at all. They said that the petitions before them strictly talk about women’s entry into Sabarimala, and that other issues concerning Muslims, Parsis and Dawoodi Bohras can be addressed separately by a larger bench.

The dissenting judgment also pointed out that in 2018, three judges had maintained that the exclusion of women from Hindu temples is not an essential part of the Hindu religion and thus could not be held to be an essential religious practice.

The judgment also said, “The delicate balance between the exercise of religious rights by different groups within the same religious faith that is found in Article 25 has to be determined on a case by case basis. The slippery-slope argument, that this judgment will be used to undermine the religious rights of others, including religious minorities, is wholly without basis.” – The News Minute, 14 November 2019

Sanyukta Dharmadhikari is a senior journalist with The News Minute.

Sabarimala Ayyappan TempleAlso read


 

ASI report clearly told Court that masjid was built by destroying a great temple – Team PGurus

ASI Report Ayodhya

MUST READ : The ASI report clearly told Court that Babri Masjid was built by destroying a massive temple in Ayodhya – Team PGurus 

ASI Report Ayodhya Temple

Vishnu Hari inscription found at the Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya


 

Ram Lalla finally comes home! – R. Jagannathan

Ram Lalla Virajman

Ayodhya Verdict 9 November 2019)

The Times of IndiaThe five-judge Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court of India on Saturday pronounced a unanimous judgment in the seven-decade-old Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case. Here are the key takeaways from the apex court judgment:

1. The Supreme Court has ordered the Centre to set up a trust to build a temple, while allotting alternative five acres of land for constructing a mosque.

2. The apex court has ordered the Centre to formulate a scheme in three months to set up a board of trustees for construction of a temple at the disputed structure.

3. The SC has allotted the entire 2.77-acre disputed land for temple construction.

4. The court has also ordered that suitable alternative land, measuring five acres, will be alloted for setting up mosque. The land will be given to the Sunni Waqf Board.

5. The SC ruled that the Allahabad High Court judgement on the case in 2010 was wrong in dividing the disputed site into three parts.

6. The SC ruled that the Nirmohi Akhara suit was not maintainable and it has no shebait rights (priestly rights). However, the court directed that in the Board of Trustees that will be set up, the Nirmohi Akhara should be given appropriate representation.

7. The claim of Shia Waqf Board against Sunni Board to Babri Masjid was dismissed.

8. The SC’s directive to set up a trust to construct the Ram temple at the disputed site virtually ousts the VHP-backed Ram Janmasthan Nyas from temple construction activities.

9. The SC said that archaeological evidence cannot be brushed aside as conjecture and hypothesis. Archaeological evidence supports that the Babri Masjid was not constructed on vacant land but on a Hindu structure. However, Archaeological Survey of India findings did not say whether a Hindu temple was demolished to construct a mosque.

10. The court also said that the destruction of the mosque in 1992 happened in breach of SC orders. The desecration of the mosque by placing idols in 1949 and its demolition was contrary to the law, it added. – Times of India, 9 November 2019

Ram Temple/Supreme Court India

R. JagannathanAyodhya Verdict: A five-point action list to follow up on Supreme Court’s judgement – R Jagannathan

For the Hindus, the gain is a just reward for centuries of fighting for their holy places. The judgment rightly gives the inner and outer courtyards to a trust that will ultimately build the Ram Mandir. – R. Jagannathan

The unanimous judgement of the five-judge Ayodhya bench of the Supreme Court will be parsed, analysed, criticised, applauded and scrutinised for decades. That is, assuming the case does not end up being reviewed by another bench in a future Supreme Court.

For the Hindus, the gain is a just reward for centuries of fighting for their holy places. The judgment rightly gives the inner and outer courtyards to a trust that will ultimately build the Ram Mandir.

However, there is no case for any triumphalism. They should use this “victory” to build a proper dialogue with Muslims so that there is no lingering sense of hurt in the community.

For the Muslims, the judgment will seem unfair for it was enabled by the destruction of an earlier mosque built over an earlier temple. They get five acres of land, twice the size of the disputed land as consolation.

They should use this “setback” to ask themselves and their alleged benefactors some tough questions; how did we end up in this situation?

The Left, the prime mischief mongers in this affair, will scream majoritarianism and blue murder. They should be the ones who should introspect the most, and Indians of all ideologies—Left, Right and Centre—should hold them to account for the damage they have done to secularism for giving Muslims false hopes and wrong ideas about India’s past.

The chances are the historic judgment will be criticised or applauded for all the wrong reasons. This is because the judgment’s fallout is unrelated to the law of the land, but faith, emotions, history, archaeology and even the biases of the commentators themselves.

The bench was given the unenviable task of trying to adjudicate on these aspects when the constitution under which the judgment has been pronounced came into being only after 1950. It was essentially asked to pronounce on the rights and wrongs of something that happened before the modern Indian state came into being.

In the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, the three-judge bench tried to look at both the law and the fallout relating to faith and emotions by building  compromise into the verdict where two-thirds of the disputed land was given to the Hindus and the remaining one-third to the Muslims. But such compromises work only if the verdicts are mediated rather than handed down from above cloaked in the verbiage of legality.

In a sense, the real problem that needed to be solved was how Indians, both Hindus and Muslims, were told the truth so that they could learn to live with nuanced history, where the truth was told without anyone trying to hide it from one section or the other.

If history had been taught with the nuance it deserves, with wrongs being clearly identified as wrongs and rights as rights, it would have been easier for the two communities to work out a reasonable compromise even earlier. The disputed site could have been given over to the Hindus and the mosque moved elsewhere. This is what the final judgment effectively does anyway.

Unfortunately, India’s Left historians took it on themselves to hide history from today’s Muslims, who had nothing to do with what happened in the spot where the Babri Masjid was built.

This is akin to today’s Germans being told that Hitler was not as bad as others thought him to be, since no current generation German needed to carry the guilt of the past. It is also like telling today’s Hindus that there was no caste atrocity ever, and that the caste system was the invention of some mischievous outsiders who wanted to divide Hindus.

But this is exactly what we did to Muslims and Hindus both.

The Muslims were told that no temple existed before the masjid was built, and all incidents involving the temples that were demolished—including temples at the holiest of Hindu sites—were the result of the politics of that day. They had nothing to do with the religious fervour of Islamist rulers, or their iconoclastic zeal.

Any historian with an iota of common sense would know that iconoclasm has always been a key part of Islam, with the Prophet himself participating in one such bout of idol-destruction on his return to Mecca in triumph.

Instead, the Left tried to prove that Hindu kings too broke temples and ran away with their idols. Again, commonsense was at a discount here. A king ransacking a temple and taking the idol away to establish his victory is not demeaning the faith of the temple’s followers. He is merely making a political point, that the deity is better protected by him rather than the king who lost the battle.

The Left’s whitewashing of Islamic iconoclasm and rewriting of history in the name of secularism has probably done more damage to secularism than any post-independence communal riot or bad blood between the two communities. Amity can never be built on the sand of falsehood. Only truth can build unity.

The question now is where do we go from here, apart from correcting the biases of Leftist history?

The answer is a more nuanced telling of history, where the contributions of Islamic rulers—both their good deeds and their bad deeds—are known to all in a fair rendition of the facts. It is all right to praise a Tipu Sultan for some of his political or military innovations (use of rockets), but equally one cannot pretend that he was not a bigot who caused untold grief to Hindus in Malabar and Coorg by forced conversions, rape and destruction of their places of worship.

The follow-up actions that follow the Supreme Court verdict should include the following:

One, organise genuine Hindu-Muslim dialogues in various states, where the two communities understand each other’s sensitivities and work out compromises that will stand the test of time, with no community being disadvantaged or given the short straw.

Two, where states offer cow protection laws, they must build the ability to enforce the law, and not leave it to assorted cow mafias and protection racketeers to engage in mutual violence.

Three, laws that tilt in favour of the minorities—Articles 25-30 come to mind—must be amended to ensure that rights given to minorities cannot be denied to those deemed to be a majority.

Four, the state must ensure that the economically backward are helped without identifying communities, so that no one—minority or majority—is left out of economic advancement.

Five, the word minority must be banished from the Indian lexicon, and substituted with human rights. All rights flow from a commitment to protect the minority of one – the individual and not the community.

Minorities are contextual, and not permanent. – Swarajya, 9 November

R. Jagannathan is the editorial director at Swarajya. 

Proposed Ram Temple at Ayodhya