Ram Janmabhoomi – Babri Masjid Dispute

Author- Vasudha Chakraborty & Nidhi Jhanwar
College- Manipal University Jaipur
Year of study- 3rd year

The atmosphere was ignited with feelings of hatred and vandalism as hundreds of
kar sevaks from all over the country gathered at the disputed site of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh on 6th December 1992. Slogans were raised and abuses hurled as politicians and bureaucrats alike, egged the common man to take justice in his own hands. The situation soon escalated into a frenzy of madness as some people climbed up the dome of the mosque and struck the first blow. That blow on the dome of Babri Masjid was the first among the many nails on the coffin that is India’s secular fabric. Since the 19th century, many cases related to various disputes have been heard and many decisions taken, but all in vain. No satisfactory final decision could be given by any authority and the two sects were never ready to mediate or find a midway.  Then in the 21st century, the highest officialdom had to take things under control to give a final verdict binding on all to put an end to this never ending series of meaningless hearings at court.

On the most awaited date of 10th November 2019 the Ayodhya-Babri Masjid Verdict was announced and it came upon the Muslims as inequitably as the amount of cheerfulness and rejoices it brought amongst the Ram-bhakts. Once again the victory of Lord Rama over the world was to be cherished from now on. But is this what Lord Rama would have wanted, to bring peace amongst the larger population by overpowering and supressing the minority? Was this fair disposal of power by the highest judicial authority of the country, or just a political propaganda to win over the hearts of the majority? The question is whether the Motto of the Constitution is being followed in the middle of all this or its main aim has been forgotten amongst the rush of establishing religious supremacy? Can India really be called a secular country anymore? But before commenting on any basis, it is necessary to

set out briefly the significant events which have taken place in the chequered history of this litigation which spans nearly seven decades.

This entire conflagration between the two communities can be dated back to 1886 when the controversies could not be resolved to reach any seal. Countless suits filed one after the other could not decide any fate. All these have created endless pages in the history. The substantial change in the position took place when idols were secretively placed inside the mosque in 1949, and then the central dome of the mosque was destroyed by a mob in 1992 and a makeshift structure of a temple was found under the dome. After that the Central Government acquired the area. Thereafter writ petitions were filed in the High Court of Allahabad challenging the validity of the Ayodhya Act of 1993. A reference was made by the President of India that whether a Hindu Temple or religious structure existed prior to the construction of Ram JanamBhoomi and Babri Masjid including the inner and outer courtyards. The final decision of the High Court in 2010 was that all the three parties- Muslims, Hindus, and NirmohiAkhara are declared as joint holders of disputed premises and each be allotted one third share. The parties preferred multiple civil appeals and Special Leave Petitions before this court against this judgement. Then in January 2019 a five judge bench was constituted by the Chief Justice of India to hear to appeals. Efforts were also made to reach settlement through mediation. Final arguments were presented in October 2019.The final issue that was in question was that whether the premises in question or any part thereof is by tradition, belief and faith the birth place of Lord Rama as alleged.

The contentions from the appellant side is that the BabriMasjid has been built after demolishing Ram Janam Bhoomi Mandir and hence such a mosque deserves to be destroyed.But again here the question arises who is eyewitness to the existence of such a Mandir in the past? The ASI excavation reports nowhere conclusively prove this. Moreover it has been submitted that theory of the disputed site being called as Janma Asthan of Lord Ram is of recent origin and there is no evidence of such earlier belief. So here all the game was of faith and belief on the basis of pure emotions and no proper legal sanctity. When can ever the law be used to determine religion? Law is logical and reasonable but religion is custom and faith of a large population. The two can never be questioned over each other. When we think of the Hindu religion it is difficult to define it adequately as it does not claim any one prophet; worship of any one God; or subscribing to any one dogma; it might as just be broadly described as a way of life.

We all for certitude know that Ayodhya was the birth place of Lord Rama. Hindus have regarded it as one of the most sacred places since time unknown. But there is no actual concrete proof that whether the Ram Janam Bhoomi Mandir or the courtyard of Raja Dasharath existed at that very land of BabriMasjid. But Law works on evidence and here lies the swivel.Any proof of existential structure that we have is the long standing

Babri Masjid. Its demolition by a mob in 1992 was in itself a big botch which arrested the idea of India being a secular country anymore!  This recalcitrance should have been dealt with more sternly in the first place. Now that the verdict has been given to wholly destroy the historical Babri Masjid and construct a new temple all over, is going to attract much attention from all over the world. From a law student’s viewpoint this decision is not equitable to the required extent. Firstly because no conclusive proof has been found from the excavations’ report about the destruction of the former Ram Mandir, neither anything of the Islamic Origin has been found. All that is gotten are the wall scriptures historic remains of the early civilizations, somewhat depicting the era of Lord Rama’s worshippers. Such depictions are also natural to be found as mostly the early Indian Civilians were Hindus. Also the main concern is that even if the Ram Mandir existed and it was destroyed in the History by some Mughal Ruler to construct the Babri Masjid; it will never be the right decision to repeat the history by destroying the Mosque and constructing the Temple again. Then what difference remains between the autocratic rulers of Indian History and today’s Democracy?  Also The faith and belief regarding the disputed site being Lord Rama’s birthplace has to be established since before 1528 when the Mosque is said to have been constructed by Babar, but the oral evidences of that been seen by witnesses can at best be of things that existed in 20thcentury only. The disputed site must have been distributed equally amongst the parties.

As per holding up of the principles of the Indian Constitution is concerned, a more favourable decision towards the minority religion should have been given; rather than just making a political policy out of it to gain confidence of the majority.

It is sad now to learn about the real picture of the so called Independence of the Judiciary in India! What a pity for those thousands of Muslim families and their  ancestors  who had been offering Namaz at the historic Babri Masjid since decades and now their credence has been crushed like they were less of an Indian. Will they ever have faith in the system in future? Religion is a matter of faith amongst individuals and it is not always necessarily theistic. All forms of belief and worship are equal and those whose duty it is to interpret the Constitution, enforce it and engage with it can ignore this only at the peril of our society and nation. The facts, evidence and arguments of the present case have traversed the realms of history, archaeology, religion and law. But the law must stand apart from political contestations over ideology and religion. For a case replete with references to archaeological foundations, we must remember that it is law which provides the edifice upon which our multicultural society rests. By determining their limits, this court as the final arbiter must preserve the sense of balance that beliefs of one citizen do not interfere with or dominate the freedoms and beliefs of another. The present dispute was over an immovable property and the law does not decide title on basis of faith or belief but evidence.  At the heart of the Constitution is a commitment to equality upheld and enforced by the Rule of law. Under it, citizens of all beliefs and creeds seeking divine provenance are both subject to the law and equal before law.  Every Judge of a Court is not merely tasked with but sworn to uphold the Constitution and its values.

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