When the Legislature skirts its responsibility and cleverly gets the Courts to decide on issues of OPINIONS, we receive Judgments which are neither decided on LEGAL PRINCIPLES nor sound logically. The RAM JANM BHOOMI issue decided by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court is primarily an issue that should be decided on DEMOCRATIC OPINION. But the problem is that if the party with majority were to push through a Legislation, there would be every likelihood of the ACT being struck down on the grounds of violating the FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS (discrimination and non-secularism). Further the party which pushes through such a legislation would lose a chunk of the constituency, blighting its own prospects at the hustings.
So caught between the devil and the deep sea, the best option is to push the issue to the Courts. According to me, the Courts could have an “opinion” on the proof of a “fact”, but SHOULD it have an OPINION on a “belief”? And what would be the tools at its disposal to determine the validity of one opinion against another? The same old Indian Evidence Act 1872; Transfer of Property Act 1882 and the Civil Procedure Code 1908. All these Acts of parliament were enacted much after the so called Babri Masjid had been built, either on the ruins of a temple (as one of the Justices of the bench which decided the case on the 30th Sept., 2010) or by demolishing a temple thereon.
Further what i could not understand was that, it was the SUNNI WAKF Board which had filed a suit for declaration that the site belonged to them. But the judgment apportions the land between the three litigants, after dismissing the suit as time barred. If the suit was indeed time barred, then the determination of the TITLE, POSSESSION and ENJOYMENT had to be determined based on the established principles of justice and declared precedents. By dismissing the suit as time barred, the POSSESSION comes into play. So we have to go to 1992 when the Muslims were in POSSESSION of the property. Their plea of ADVERSE POSSESSION has also been struck down. So, cyclically we have reached the starting point of our quest for a solution to the Ram Janm Bhoomi issue.
I believe that the JUDICIAL TOOLS like LEGAL PRINCIPLES, PRECEDENTS, LOGIC and ACCEPTABLE REASONING should be deployed in the delivery of any judgment, more so in a vital one like this. One of the Justices is so sanguine that Lord Rama was born in the very place where the idols were installed in the late 1940’s. To opine on such issues without sufficient facts on hand is likely to reopen these issues on a later date, casting a heavy burden on the future generations.
We badly need a Lord Denning to sort out these issues.
I presume the simple point on which this issue could be decided is that a MOSQUE is a place of worship when it is devoid of any compelling historicity. So is a temple. But when HISTORICITY comes into play, the issue is which of the competing historicity is of greater VALUE to each religion. When we look at that, Babur was an INVADER and the person who, by hindsight, established the Mughal Dynasty in India. A place of worship which was established under the orders of an INVADER is to be pitted against a place of worship, which is BELIEVED to be the BIRTH PLACE of LORD RAMA. Which of these claims is of EDURING importance?
Lord Rama occupies a central place in the pantheon of the Hindu gods and goddesses. Whereas, Babur’s Mosque had a more FUNCTIONAL use as a place of worship for the Muslims, than as a significant part of the Historicity of ISLAM. So pitted against each other the place is MORE SACRED to the Hindus than to the Muslims. Further, the Babri Masjid was not a centre for pilgrimage and could never have been, whereas, as the declared birth place of RAMA, it could transform into a place of PILGRIMAGE.
Taking all the above into consideration, the Hindus would have a greater claim on the SPACE, and the FUNCTIONS of the Mosque could be relocated to continue with the FUNCTIONS. To put it succinctly, the claim of Hindus is SPACE CENTRIC but the claim of the Muslims is FUNCTION CENTRIC. On this very ground, the place should have been declared the BIRTH PLACE of Lord Rama through the belief of Hindus.This is in no way an absolution of the vandalism perpetrated in 1992.
Further according to the Hindu laws there are properties called as DEBUTTER PROPERTY, which is a property dedicated to the deity/idol. To establish a debutter property the courts have relied on a “sanad” granting such status. In this case to find a sanad for a fact that is supposed to have taken place more than 3000 years ago, would be IMPOSSIBLE, as the courts have questioned even the veracity and the possibility of such sanads even in debutter properties over a 100 years. So in all FAIRNESS, justice should have been done based on the very old principles of JUST, FAIR and GOOD CONSCIENCE.
In any case with some judicial determination, things are posed for a positive turn, i hope. Peace is important, but that PEACE should be LASTING is even more important. Let us decide to at least relieve the future generations from this unenviable burden of determining the issues of TITLE, POSSESSION and the like!!