12th NOVEMBER, 2019
|RAJYA SABHA TELEVISION|
VISHESH: THE AYODHAYA VERDICT
In a unanimous judgment, the Bench has ordered that a temple must be constructed at the disputed site and the Muslims must be compensated with five acres of land at a prominent place in Ajodhya. The court also ordered the Central government to formulate a scheme within three months to implement this order.
A Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on November 9 has delivered its judgment in the cross-appeals filed by the Hindu and Muslim sides challenging the three-way partition of the disputed 2.77 acres of Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land among Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Waqf Board in September 2010.
Constitutional provisions and the Ajodhya verdict
- The five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi also exercised Article 142 of the Constitution to direct that the Nirmohi Akhara, an order of Hindu ascetics, will also get representation in the trust that the Centre must set up in three months to oversee the building of the temple.
- Although the apex court had dismissed Nirmohi Akhara’s suit as it was barred by limitation, Article 142 allowed it to intervene in the matter.
- The Article provides that “Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it”.
Can court ask a secular nation to construct a temple?
- The Ajodhya judgment has raised several questions for jurists to answer. Prominent among these is whether the Supreme Court’s direction to the Central government to formulate a scheme and set up a trust to facilitate the construction of a temple on the disputed land would amount to a breach of the secular character of the State.
- The nine-judge Bench judgment in the S.R. Bommai case of 1994 clearly said the State should be divorced from religion. The Bommai judgment said the concept of secular State was essential in a democracy. “State is neither pro-particular religion nor anti-particular religion. It stands aloof, in other words maintains neutrality in matters of religion and provides equal protection to all religions,”
- But Centre is already empowered under Section 6 of the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ajodhya Act,1993 to vest the disputed land in a trust or authority.
- Section 7(1) of the 1993 Act allowed the disputed property to be “maintained by the government or by any person or trustees of any trust, authorities”. The validity of the 1993 Act was also upheld by the Supreme Court.
Will the judgment be led to other vandalisation of worship places?
- The Supreme Court has made it clear that its Ajodhya judgment will not act as a precedent to justify communal mobilizations against places of worship of other faiths.
- The Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has dealt with this apprehension by referring to Section 5 of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991.
- Section 5 had uniquely exempted the “place of worship — commonly known as Ram Janma Bhumi-Babri Masjid” from the ambit of the 1991 Act, which prohibits the conversion of any place of worship
- The 1991 Act bans conversion of religious places of worship and further provides “for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Now the onus lies over the central and state government for the formation of the trust to build the temple and provide 5 acre land to Muslim community.
The verdict should not be seen as victory or defeat to any community because the harmony and the brotherhood of the country lies much above the temple and mosque .