Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ayodhya Verdict: a flawed attempt for political compromise by the Judiciary

December 6 1992

 The day when I felt most ashamed of India and its Government.
 The day on which glorious Indian tradition-of tolerance and respect for all-was torn apart by few goons.


Now with the Ayodhya Verdict of the Allahabad High Court I am feeling ashamed again,this time of Indian Judiciary.
The verdict has been analysed in detail both in Print and in Cyberspace.So without going into the details let me make it clear why I am ashamed of this verdict.

Role of Belief and Religion in a Title suit
This was a title suit. What role religion and belief have in a title suit? The court was supposed to look at the legal documents available and come to a verdict. Instead the Court tried to over reach its authority and came up with an  'illegal' political compromise.

Condoning Masjid demolition
The ASI was able to excavate the site because of the criminal vandalism of Hindutva goons.What would have been the verdict if Babri Masjid was still there? Would the Judiciary give a verdict to partition it into 3 parts? By giving a portion to the criminals who demolished it are n't they condoning the demolition? The Hindutva brigade will surely try to get immunity in demolition case citing this verdict.

ASI Report 2003
Findings of ASI after excavating the Babri Masjid site did not prove that the Masjid was build demolishing a temple. It was due to political bias that a wrong conclusion was given in its report by ASI. Many archeologists and historians have challenged this. Here is an extract from the statement released by SAHMAT, an organisation in which many renowned Historians are members.

One decisive piece of evidence, which entirely negates the possibility of a temple, is that of animal bones. Bone fragments with cut marks are a sure sign of animals being eaten at the site, and, therefore, rule out a temple existing at the site at the time. The Report in its “Summary of Results” admits that “animal bones have been recovered from various levels of different periods” (Report, p.270). Any serious archaeological report would have tabulated the bones, by periods, levels and trenches, and identified the species of the animals (which in bulk seem to be of sheep and goats). There should, indeed, have been a chapter devoted to animal remains. But despite the statement in its “Summary”, there is no word about the animal bones in the main text. This astonishing omission is patently due to the ASI’s fear of the fatal implications held out by the animal bone evidence for the temple theory.

....The bias, partisanship and saffronised outlook of the ASI’s Report takes one’s breath away. In almost everything the lack of elementary archaeological controls is manifest. The one-page carbon-date report, without any description of material, strata and comments by the laboratory, is meaningless, and open to much misuse. There has been no thermoluminescence (TL) dating of the pottery; no carbon-dating of the animal or human bones. No care has been exercised in chronology....

...It cannot be overlooked that the occupant of the office of Director-General was changed almost simultaneously with the High Court’s direction to the ASI to begin the excavations in early March. The signal given thereby was obvious; and the present Report should come as no surprise. Politicians gloating over it are precisely those who have got it written.
Location of birth place of Lord Ram
     At least 2 Judges of the High Court seems to have accepted that most Hindus believe Lord Ram was born at a place which fell under the Central dome of the Masjid. What was the evidence to conclude that most Hindus beleived Ram was born at that exact place? The truth is there were many rival places in Ayodhya which had claims to be the birth place of Lord Ram. Only in the 1980s with the advent of strong Hindutva movement that the Mosque was deliberately made the birth place of Rama. 

Political Compromise versus Judicial Compromise

Many well meaning Indians,especially the young feel that as every one have got something we all should be satisfied with it and the Nation should move on. Many believe that the Secular 'fundamentalists' are needlessly creating problems. I disagree.
If it was a political compromise arrived at by religious leaders all of us including me would have been happy to accept it. But when a High Court go back to the period of Panchayath Court system to arrive at an extra-legal compromise in its verdict, it spells trouble for India's democracy and secularism.
Can we change history to justify the politics of present?

What happened in history, happened. It cannot be changed. But we can learn to understand what happened in its fuller context and strive to look at it on the basis of reliable evidence. We cannot change the past to justify the politics of the present. The verdict has annulled respect for history and seeks to replace history with religious faith. True reconciliation can only come when there is confidence that the law in this country bases itself not just on faith and belief, but on evidence
 Romilla Thapar, Historian

Let us hope that some time in future the Supreme Court will rectify this flawed attempt for political compromise by the Judiciary.

Links
http://sahmatnews.blogspot.com/2010/10/statement-on-ayodhya-verdict.html
http://www.sahmat.org/2982003.html  on ASI report
http://communalism.blogspot.com/2010/10/interview-with-justice-rajindar-sachar.html

http://communalism.blogspot.com/2010/10/interview-with-rajeev-dhavan-on-ayodhya.html
 http://communalism.blogspot.com/2010/10/in-name-of-faith-frontline-5-oct-2010.html

14 comments:

  1. I feel sure that the Supreme Court will correct these mistakes and deliver a verdict more grounded in legal principles. All this criticism would give it an idea about the mood of the country too.

    Sooner or later, things will come out all right...or so I hope.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hmm... I agree, "If it was a political compromise arrived at by religious leaders all of us including me would have been happy to accept it. But when a High Court go back to the period of Panchayath Court system to arrive at an extra-legal compromise in its verdict, it spells trouble for India's democracy and secularism."

    ReplyDelete
  3. But I also feel this was an extraordinary situation and perhaps this was needed... some problems have no 'real' solutions. I would now like to see those who were involved in violence and killings (and more) in 1992-93 are given exemplary punishments... basically we should aim for peace and harmony and justice in every way possible.

    ReplyDelete
  4. how many pages of the judgement have your read? First read and understand the judgement and reasoning provided by the judges for each of their observations and conclusions. The judges have done a marvelous job and taken lots of pain in explaining their every conclusion. Land (title suit) went to Ramlalla based on Law of Limitation and not on "belief" and "religion" as you are inferring it to be.
    Regarding those 'eminent historians", just see fake they are. for details read the observations by one of the judges at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/How-Allahabad-HC-exposed-experts-espousing-Masjid-cause/articleshow/6716643.cms.

    ReplyDelete
  5. BJP,
    "Sooner or later, things will come out all right...or so I hope."
    I hope so too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. IHM,
    Does this provide a solution or create more problems?
    "I would now like to see those who were involved in violence and killings (and more) in 1992-93 are given exemplary punishments"
    Using this judgement the demolisher of Babri Masjid can try to escape punishment.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Deshabhakta,
    Welcome here and thank you for your comment.
    I have read only the Gist of the Judgements and little more,but it was enough to get a fair idea of what the Judgement said and why.
    About Title Suit let me quote Rajeev Dhavan, Senior Advocate of Supreme Court.
    "This was a title suit. The court has turned this into a partition suit. The question of title squarely lies with the Sunnis. They had taken over the mosque for over centuries. They have never lost titles. There was a continuity of ownership even if not prayer. On December 22, 1949, some idols were placed there. It was absurd to suggest they came in as a consequence of divination. Fortunately, the court has not gone that far. Therefore, the simple question was whether the Sunni Waqf Board filed its case within the limitation of 12 years. It was filed on December 18, 1961, within the limitation without adversely affecting the title of the Sunnis.

    The judgment appears to have unsuited the Sunnis on the basis that the title was never there and that, in fact, they have actual rights only over part of the property. This was argued by none, requested or asserted by none, and came from the sweet will of judicial imagination".

    Why I said it is based on belief and not evidence...excerpt from Honbl Sudhir Agarwal's Judgement


    "4566. In the light of the above and considering overall findings of this Court on
    various issues, following directions and/or declaration, are given which in our view
    would meet the ends of justice:
    (i) It is declared that the area covered by the central dome of the three domed
    structure, i.e., the disputed structure being the deity of Bhagwan Ram Janamsthan
    and place of birth of Lord Rama as per faith and belief of the Hindus, belong to
    plaintiffs (Suit-5) and shall not be obstructed or interfered in any manner by the
    defendants."


    I give you one more excerpt from the Judgement this time from Honbl Dharam Veer Sharma commenting about lack of proper investigation and dating of animal bones in ASI report to prove lack objectivity in the Judgement.
    'it is submitted that the
    ASI excavation team was not appointed to collect the bones from the different strata and get those bones chemically examined. As such though the ASI excavation team has collected bones and made
    inventory thereof which was not necessary for drawing the conclusion that whether there was any existing structure prior to 16th century or not. As such challenge to the ASI report on this superficial ground is
    liable to be rejected."


    A Judge who himself agree that he is not an archeology expert is saying that ASI was not appointed to collect bones and chemically examine it and He is saying such an inventory and dating of bones is not required to ascertain whether an existing structure was there prior to Babri mosque.
    I can only say I am happy that the Judge has since retired.

    ReplyDelete
  8. what u said are the obvious facts and those who can't get it must either belong to the sangh mindset or those who love to slide down with flow.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Salam, welcome here.
    Most people love to slide down with flow and want peace. Still I feel this verdict is a too high a price for peace.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Taking the current situation and not history, I guess this was the best they could do. But then as you write, I hope this will not lead to more problems in future. Let the nation have peace and those in Ayodhya have told many times that if the matter was solved within themsleves without the "outsiders' intervention, they would have solved it well, years back. But politics in the name of religion played games.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Taking the current situation and not history, I guess this was the best they could do. But then as you write, I hope this will not lead to more problems in future. Let the nation have peace and those in Ayodhya have told many times that if the matter was solved within themsleves without the "outsiders' intervention, they would have solved it well, years back. But politics in the name of religion played games.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Happy Kitten,
    The best thing that could have been done by the Court is to declare the entire area as Protected area under the protection of National monuments and Historical places act and give it to ASI for further excavation, not to prove or disapprove communal theories,but to know more about the history of our Country.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What is the authors esteemed opinion on Mathura and Kashi? Does he want proof for that too.If the ASI report is as dubious as you claim it is, why did Justice S.U. Khan have to beleive?I am saying Judge Khan's name because If i say Justice Agarwal or Justice Sharma, Then you will characterise them as Hindus. I also want peace and tranquility but definitely not at the cost of my self respect.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous,
    I am not sure about Mathura and Kashi and I do not care much about it.My self respect is not that fragile. Our Father of Nation and greatest Ram Bhakt Gandhiji also did not felt ashamed by all these. . The wrong done through the judgement is not related to the religion of the Honbl Judges.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are welcome especially if you do not think like me. But anonymous comments behind masks and those not relevant to the post are not encouraged.