The Supreme Court judgment in the Ayodhya land dispute case is one of the most momentous and judicious decisions in the annals of the history of Indian Judiciary. Though critics from the left and so-called “secular intelligentsia” have slammed the judgment as the footprint of Hindutva and took a position that the Indian Judiciary has somehow compromised its independence.
A political context- whether of Hindutva or a secular kind is one thing - demonstrating the judicial decision flaws from political context is another thing. The critics of the judgement don’t prove the latter. The judgement has not only offered a context-specific solution while dealing with the sensitive issue of pluralism and diversity, but has the capacity to provide a healing touch to all the parties involved in the dispute. The strength of the judgement lies not only in its unanimity but in its judicial method and approach in harmonising the multiple claims of the parties concerned.
What the critics have forgotten is that the subject matter before the five-judge constitution bench of Supreme Court was one of the title deeds of 2.77-acre land upon which the edifice of Babri Masjid rested at one point of time, and not the demolition of the structure of the Mosque. The latter is a separate case and criminal proceeding is already pending before the court against those who were alleged to be involved in the destruction of the Mosque and the said criminal proceedings have not been dropped so far.
The judgment judiciously went into the claim and counterclaims of the parties concerned, as well as the history of the case, and found on the basis of evidence that while Hindu worship has been continued in one form or another in that land comprising since 1528 when the Mosque was constructed. On the other hand, the Muslim Party could not demonstrate the continuity of its worship between 1528 and 1858 and therefore, could not fulfil the required condition of the principle of adverse possession.
The apex court, keeping into consideration of Constitutional Morality and Justice, invoked Article 142 to instruct the Government of India to allot 5 acres of land to the Muslim community as a compensation to the demolition of the structure.
It’s a matter of concern that some people have decided to file the review petition of this judgement, which has the potential to vitiate the national atmosphere.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)
Jyotika Teckchandani teaches at Amity Institute of Social Sciences, Amity University, Uttar Pradesh. Her expertise includes Gender, International Politics, Foreign Policy Analysis, Indian and West Asian Politics.
Ayodhya verdict has brought relief to all the parties involved in the dispute.