7 Unanswered Questions I Have About The 1045-Page-Long Ayodhya Verdict

At the time of taking decisions, don’t think about possible reactions as that might affect the decisions. As humans, we also suggest each other to not listen to other’s opinions while taking important decisions.

Before saying anything further we, the people of this country should appreciate and congratulate all five judges, for hearing the Ayodhya case regularly and setting up the new precedent that if Indian courts decide that they want to pass judgment on any case within a limited time, then they can do so without any delay.

Willingness and intention are important and we should thank them for showing both while hearing the above-mentioned case.

I am sharing my point of view on the judgment and on some unanswered questions I have. But, I want to clarify that as you read this article, don’t judge me on the basis of my religion. Should you wish to make assumptions on people based on their religion, then don’t waste your time in reading this article.

Let’s first understand the law before saying anything with respect to the judgment passed by the apex court. As per the law, you have the right to criticise the judgment and you have the right to review the judgment as per your opinion.

According to Section 5 of Contempt of Court Act 1971, publishing fair criticism of a judicial act is not contempt, provided judgments are criticised without casting aspersions on the judge(s).

I am not going to present facts of the case as all of you are aware of the same. If you are not, then I would suggest that you do not read this further.

1) Resolution Or Verdict?

At the time of reading Paragraph 2 of the judgment, I found an interesting line, i.e. “this Court is tasked with the resolution of a dispute whose origins are as old as the idea of India itself.”

Now, when the party approaches a court of law, then they have the option to resolve the disputes or get the judgments on merit of the case. In this case also, both the parties have ample opportunity to settle the disputes but failed to resolve the same. But, is it right for the Supreme Court to play the role of a mediator instead of passing a cogent verdict on the title dispute?

Whether it is right or wrong is a different thing, but if anyone reads between the lines of the said paragraph, then the person who is reading can easily presume and predict the whole judgment.

Members of the Sunni Waqf Board speak to the media after the verdict at the Supreme Court of India.

2) Who Is The Author Of The Judgment?

The judgment passed by the apex court is unanimous, with the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.

But no one knows who the author of the judgment is. Everyone is predicting from the way of writing and drafting, but the judgment itself is silence about this aspect. The Chief Justice pronounced the judgment in the open court, but it does not mean that he is the author of the judgment as any member of the court may read a judgment prepared by another member of the court.

It is not about hiding the name of the judges but is there a specific reason for doing so, is the question that needs to be answered.

3) What About The Last 116 Pages?

Though the total pages of the judgment are 1045, the last 116 pages are separate, wherein one of the members of the bench recorded his separate reasons on the issue “whether the disputed structure is the birth-place of Lord Ram according to the faith and belief of the Hindu devotees?”

Again, we don’t know the name of the author of these last 116 pages. The Supreme Court is supreme and the whole nation is respecting the judgment passed, but why has the Supreme Court not disclosed the name of the judge who recorded his separate reasons on the above-mentioned issue?

I think here, thinking about the reaction of people and avoiding presumption and perception, the Supreme Court deliberately hid the name of the author of the entire judgment.

4) What About The Alleged Demolition Of The Temple By Babur?

Whether Babur had demolished or destroyed the temple is not clear. Or it can be said that the judgment is not saying anything about the same, or that it did not give reliance on evidence produced by the other party. But, at the same time Apex Court says, “But, from the pleadings both in Suit 4 and in Suit 5, there appears to be no dispute about the origin or the date of construction of the mosque by or at the behest of Babur.”

If the court is admitting the fact that the mosque was in existence since 1528, then why was this fact not relevant in 1860.

Even at the time of determining the issue of designating the location of the mosque, the Apex Court says, “the belief and faith of the worshipper in offering namaz at a place which is for the worshipper a mosque cannot be challenged.” The judgment further clearly says, “nothing would be as destructive of the values underlying Article 25 of the Constitution.”

5) Three-Way Bifurcation

While the Supreme Court set aside the judgment of the High Court, it also mentioned the three-way bifurcation as ordered by the latter.

The Supreme Court says, “Even as a matter of maintaining public peace and tranquillity, the solution which commended itself to the High Court is not feasible. The disputed site admeasures all of 1500 square yards. Dividing the land will not subserve the interest of either of the parties or secure a lasting sense of peace and tranquillity.”

I totally agree with the apex court on this practical approach as we are not living in Ram Rajya and it is not possible for both the parties to build a mosque and temple on disputed land.

6) Demolition Of Babri Masjid And 1949

The Supreme Court, in its judgment, admitted that the act of desecration of the mosque in 1949 and the act of demolition of Babri (admitted as Babri mosque, not dhancha, meaning framework) is wrong and held that “wrong committed must be remedied.”

The court further held, “Justice would not prevail if the Court were to overlook the entitlement of the Muslims who have been deprived of the structure of the mosque through means which should not have been employed in a secular nation committed to the rule of law. The Constitution postulates the equality of all faiths. Tolerance and mutual co-existence nourish the secular commitment of our nation and its people.”

Admittedly, there is strong evidence in favour of the Hindus as far as the outer yard is concerned but for the inner yard, the court has followed the rule of having a better possessory title at the time when both the parties do not have cogent evidence to prove their case. And then, the Supreme Court played the role of a mediator and resolved the dispute in a different manner wherein there is a win-win situation for both.

7) 5 Acres Of Land

The other day, someone asked me whether, in the case of a suit for possession, both parties get the land or not. The answer is that all rules are not applicable for similar cases, but I personally am not able to understand the logic behind allotting five acres of land to the party who failed to prove their possession over the suit property in a title suit.

By allotting land to the opposite party, I think it was not easy for the Supreme Court to decide the possession of the inner yard of the property. When the Supreme Court was not in favour of bifurcation, so as a mediator, the apex court found a solution by allotting five acres of land at a separate location in Ayodhya.

In my opinion, the other party should thank the apex court for allotting five acres of land in a fight for 2.77 acres of land. Unusual, but at the same time, appreciable.

Conclusion

What is the most relevant factor in deciding the dispute? Evidence, possession or arguments made by counsels.

As per me, faith is the most important and deciding factor of the case. Although title suit cannot be decided on the basis of faith, we can see and observe from the judgment especially from those last 116 pages, that faith is one of the important factors, as we all believe that Lord Ram’s birthplace is in Ayodhya at Ram Janmbhumi, so we get the place for building Ram Mandir.

But at the same time, the Supreme Court in its judgment held that even for Muslims, no one can question their faith and belief. Yet one question that is required to be answered. When the Supreme Court admitted that the demolition and all other wrongs committed by one party are unconstitutional, then can the party that approaches the court albeit with dirty hands, get relief in a title suit before the civil court?

We, in a secular country, resolved the disputed issue in a secular manner after thinking about everyone, not only about both the parties but also about people of this country, media and other stakeholders of the country.

But, it is better to not assess this verdict as the decision of title suit or possession suit. We can read this judgment to understand our beliefs, principles and faith so that we can promote the message of secularism and brotherhood. Should there be an intent to not move ahead with building a mosque in the allotted five acres, then I request that the land is used for the purpose of education or health so that both communities can improve their standards of living.

Featured image for representative purpose only.
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