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Whether the Court verdict on Babri Masjid will resolve the dispute?

By Ravi Kishore | PUBLISHED: 16, Sep 2010, 13:03 pm IST | UPDATED: 15, Apr 2011, 13:03 pm IST

Whether the Court verdict on Babri Masjid will resolve the dispute?

The whole country is waiting for the decision of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on the vexed dispute i.e. Ram Janambhoomi –Babri Masjid. Everyone is hoping that after more than six decades of legal battle marred by unfortunate incidences which has stirred communal harmony across the country, a solution may merge.

But it is doubted that the Court may not come out with a clear verdict on the vexed dispute. To me a legal solution may not be found on the question especially with regard to the existence of Ramjanmbhoomi within the premises of the disputed site as there may not be a concrete evidence to that effect.

The genesis of the dispute lies in the fact that Hindus claim that Mir Baqi, one of the generals of Moghul emperor Babar allegedly destroyed the temple at Ayodhya built by Hindus to commemorate the birthplace of Lord Ram and built a mosque which came to be known as Babri Masjid sometimes in 1527. In the past also, as early as in mid 1850s dispute arose between the two communities on the issue as Hindus made a failed effort to build a temple at the disputed site. But subsequently both the Hindus and Muslims used to offer prayer as Chabootra was built outside the mosque which had an idol of Ram.

However at midnight on December 22, 1949, Hindus placed idols of Rama and Sita inside the mosque. Subsequently a FIR was lodged in Ayodhya, on December 23, 1949. In 1950, two suits were filed by some Hindus; in one of these suits in January 1950, the trial court passed interim orders whereby the idols remained at the place where they were installed in December 1949 and the puja by the Hindus continued. The interim order was confirmed by the High Court in April 1955.

On 1-2-1986, the District Judge ordered the opening of the lock placed on a grill leading to the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine in the disputed structure and permitted puja by the Hindu devotees. In 1959, a suit was filed by the Nirmohi Akhara claiming title to the disputed structure. In 1981, another suit was filed claiming title to the disputed structure by the Sunni Central Wakf Board. In 1989, Deoki Nandan Agarwal, as the next friend of the Deity filed a title suit in respect of the disputed structure. In 1989, the aforementioned suits were transferred to the Allahabad High Court and were ordered to be heard together. On 14-8-1989, the High Court ordered the maintenance of status quo in respect of the disputed structure

The dispute acquired a bitter communal tone, when the Hindu organizations in early 1990s launched a nation wide movement with the objective of building a Ram temple at the disputed site. The movement culminated in unholy demolition of the Babri Masjid which led to subsequent riots and incidences including the Bombay riots and subsequent blast.

Subsequently the Central Government by an ordinance in early 1993 acquired the area around the disputed site and  the then President Shri Shankar Dayal Sharma made a special reference under Article 143(6) of the Constitution to the Supreme Court of India and the reference read as follows:

The 9th March, 1993."

" SPECIAL REFERENCE

1. Whereas a dispute has arisen whether a Hindu temple or any Hindu religious structure existed prior to the construction of the structure (including the premises of the inner and outer courtyards of such structure, commonly known as the Ram Janma Bhumi-Babri Masjid, in the area in which the structure stood in Village Kot Ramchandra in Ayodhya, in Pargana Haveli Avadh, in Tehsil Faizabad Sadar, in the district of Faizabad of the State of Uttar Pradesh;

2. And whereas the said area is located in Revenue Plot Nos. 159 and 160 in the said Village Kot Ramchandra;

3. And whereas the said dispute has affected the maintenance of public order and harmony between different communities in the country;

4. And whereas the aforesaid area vests in the Central Government by virtue of the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Ordinance, 1993;

5. And whereas notwithstanding the vesting of the aforesaid area in the Central Government under the said Ordinance the Central Government proposes to settle the said dispute after obtaining the opinion of the Supreme Court of India and in terms of the said opinion;

6. And whereas in view of what has been hereinbefore stated it appears to me that the question hereinafter set out has arisen and is of such a nature and of such public importance that it is expedient to obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court of India thereon;

7. Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred upon me by clause (1) of Article 143 of the Constitution of India, I, Shanker Dayal Sharma, President of India, hereby refer the following question to the Supreme Court of India for consideration and opinion thereon, namely:

Whether a Hindu temple or any Hindu religious structure existed prior to the construction of the Ram Janma Bhumi-Babri Masjid (including the premises of the inner and outer courtyards of such structure) in the area on which the structure stood?

Sd/-
President
of India
New Delhi;
Dated 7th January, 1993."

The Supreme Court deliberated the issue in detail and a comprehensive judgement was delivered by a constitution bench  in the matter of Ismail Faruqui vs Union Of India on 24 October, 1994. However the Supreme Court didn’t give any opinion on the vexed issue of the Ramjanmbhoomi-Babari Masjid dispute citing various grounds and the matter was left to the High Court to hear the parties and take into account the evidence and other facts.

However while delivering the judgment the Supreme Court made certain observations especially with regard to the secular nature of India which is worth mentioning

"We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another." Jonathan Swift

Swami Vivekananda said: "Religion is not in doctrines, in dogmas, nor in intellectual argumentation; it is being and becoming, it is realisation."

"As stated above, religious tolerance and equal treatment of all religious groups and protection of their life and property and of the places of their worship are an essential part of secularism enshrined in our Constitution. We have accepted the said goal not only because it is our historical legacy and a need of our national unity and integrity but also as a creed of universal brotherhood and humanism. It is our cardinal faith. Any profession and action which go counter to the aforesaid creed are a prima facie proof of the conduct in defiance of the provisions of our Constitution."

To conclude the Supreme Court observed that “the Genesis of this dispute is traceable to erosion of some fundamental values of the plural commitments of our polity”

The above observation is true to the last word as the whole dispute is no more  a religious issue but has acquired a  political color  and solution lies in the hands of the Political leadership of the Country and the Courts cannot be expected to give a clear verdict on issues which are  emotional in nature and are not purely based  on facts and evidence.