ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Paving the Way for Ram Lalla?

The Supreme Court’s preference of negotiations over adjudication presages an unfair outcome.

The 30 September 2010 judgment of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court in the Babri Masjid–Ram Janmabhoomi case was resolute that what Hindu fundamentalists believed was indeed fact. Those beliefs were the articles of faith of those who had engaged in “great painstaking preparation and pre-planning”—according to the official inquiry of the Liberhan Ayodhya Commission—to demolish the mosque on 6 December 1992. These were also the beliefs of the top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the other Hindu fundamentalist organisations linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) who had addressed the mobs on that date, calling upon them to demolish the mosque. So all of us—irrespective of our identity in terms of religious denominations or even as atheists—who think of ourselves as equal citizens of India and believe that the Indian state has to guarantee the rights that come with such citizenship, have been hoping the Supreme Court will scrupulously uphold the Constitution and the rule of law in the Babri Masjid–Ram Janmabhoomi case.

But instead of going ahead in fulfilling the Court’s primary responsibility of adjudication, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, J S Khehar, has advised the parties to the dispute to negotiate an out-of-court settlement, even offering himself as a mediator in the process of such negotiations. “Give a bit, take a bit. Make an effort to sort it out ... if the parties want me to sit with mediators chosen by both sides for negotiations, I am ready to take up the task,” Justice Khehar is reported to have said. In his view, the issues are related to “sentiments and religion.” The Court “should come in the picture only if you cannot settle it,” he maintained.

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Updated On : 28th Aug, 2017
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