Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Allahabad high court did the right thing

By allowing the idols of Ram not to be disturbed at the sight they have been placed after the demolition of Bari Masjid on December 6, 1992, the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court had not legitimised the criminal act of vandalism. Nor have they condoned and used as basis of legal claim another criminal act of December 23, 1949, when the idols were stealthily placed in the 'Ram Chabutara'. This is the first misinterpretation that needs to be scrupulously and vigorously avoided by the stupid lot among the Hindutva hawks. The claim to the Ramjanmasthan was considered and accepted on the basis of longstanding local tradition, which is a legitimate part of a legal claim  under the English Common Law, which we follow in India.
It is for this reason that the Sunni Waqf Board was given one-third of the land for mosque purposes. This is not a legal dispute in the strict sense of the term because this is not a land owned by private individuals on both sides -- Hindus and Muslims. The Sunni Waqf Board claim was not based on an endowment made by an individual, which it is administering. Similarly, neither the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha nor the Nirmohi Akhara own the land in their individual capacity, which is what property ownership is all about. The three parties are not even corporate entities in the proper sense of the term.
What then served as the basis for asking the site to be divided among the three claimants is something else altogether, but wholly based on the right interpretation of law. The claim of the Hindu groups was not accepted on the basis of religious or mythological belief. It was accepted because of local tradition, something even the Muslims would accept. The place was known as Ram Janmasthan. But the fact that a mosque existed there showed that the Hindu claim cannot be accepted wholly. The Muslim claim is based on the fact of the existence of the mosque, a physical reality. While accepting the fact of the existence of mosque does not imply acceptance of the property claims of the Sunni Waqf Board.
On the one hand is the local tradition, on the other the physical existence of the mosque. That is the basis of the legitimation of the claims of the three groups. It is not based on religious or proprietorial basis.
Will the stupid BJP understand the nuances of the judgment? It is unlikely to do so.  Gujarat chief minister and presumed Hindutva hawk Narendra Modi has responded by talking about the temple and keeping silent on the mosque, when the court makes room for both. The secularist hawks on the other are basing their arguments on two criminal acts -- the act of trespass of December 23, 1949 and the demolition of Babri Mosque of December 6, 1992. Those cases need to pursued separately. Those who demolished the mosque should be punished for arson and vandalism. And those who stealthily placed the idols should be punished likewise.

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