By Nilofar Suhrawardy, MMNS
NEW DELHI: Challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict over the controversial Ayodhya-issue, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH), a leading Muslim organization of India approached the Supreme Court this week (15 November). In a petition filed by JUH Joint Secretary Hafiz Mohammad Siddiq through advocate Anis Suhrawardy, the High Court verdict delivered on 30 September has been questioned. The petition has drawn the apex courtâ€™s attention to several historical facts which dispute the High Courtâ€™s verdict.
Questioning the High Courtâ€™s verdict which called for a partition of the disputed land into three between Hindus, Muslims and Nirmohi Akhara, the petition asks that as neither of the parties had pleaded for partition, what led the High Court decide this? Taking note that it had ignored historical evidence, the petition asks whether the High Court â€œcould have re-written a history while delivering the judgment substituting its role from an adjudicatory body on law as that of a role of historians.â€ The petition asks: â€œWhether the myth, belief or faith could be substituted by history for purposes of application of law for the time being in force?â€ In addition to other questions, the petition asks whether the High Court looked into whether there was any structure prior to its demolition. If there was any structure, what was its nature and who had brought it up?
The petition also deliberates on whether the High Court â€œon basis of belief and faith could have competently decided the issue in wake of the factâ€ that â€œall supportive evidence were available with effect from year 1528 till 6.12.1992â€ regarding the structure. The religious texts and scriptures considered by the High Court, by its own admission, â€œwere not definite and conclusive,â€ the petition points out.
The â€œrecorded historical facts and evidencesâ€ ignored by the High Court, listed in the petition, include the first Mughal Emperor Babarâ€™s will, which has been quoted in the book, India Divided written by Rajendra Prasad, the first president of India. The will, addressed to his successor Humayun states: â€œIt is incumbent on thee to wipe all religious prejudices off the tablet of thy heart, administer justice according to the ways of every religion. Avoid especially the sacrifice of the cow by which thou canst capture the hearts of the people of Indiaâ€¦ Do not ruin the temples and shrines of any community which is obeying the laws of government.â€
The petition draws attention to Ram Charita Manas written by Tulsidas in 1575, which does not refer to birth place of Rama at Ayodhya, demolition of temple and/or construction of mosque in place of temple of Rama. â€œDemolition of temple,â€ followed by â€œconstruction of mosqueâ€ is referred to as an â€œimaginaryâ€ by the petition.
The â€œspecific nature and character of ruinsâ€ at the site are not linked with either a temple or Ram Janam Bhoomi (Ramaâ€™s birth-place), according to a report prepared by Archaeological Survey of India, the petition states.
While rendering its decision, the petition asks, whether the High Court â€œdeparted from the rule of law, which it was required to adhere to?â€ The petition wonders whether the decision was â€œgoverned or influencedâ€ by emotions, sentiments or the belief.â€ Did the High Court take into consideration that as the structure (Babri Masjid) had been standing for more than 453 years, â€œirrespective of its nature,â€ it had â€œcome under the conspectus of Archaeological Survey of India.â€ With the structure being under the umbrella of Archaeological Survey of India, the petition points out, â€œit was incumbent for all citizens and authorities to protect the same irrespective of any religion, race, caste, creed or sex within the framework of the Protected Monuments Act read with the Indian Constitution.â€
In the petition, the appellant points out that the High Courtâ€™s judgment is â€œbased on professed belief of Hindus and not on evidence.â€ Among other points, the petition states that the High Court â€œfailed to appreciate that admittedly there was Babri Masjid constructed in 1528,â€ where Muslims offered prayers â€œregularly till idols were brought from the courtyard and installed there at the dead of night on 22-23 December, 1949 and worship started thereafter.â€ Against this backdrop, the petition points out that the â€œstatus quo ante prior to 22 December, 1949â€ should have been restored, but it was not.
The petition argues that slogan of Ram Janmabhoomi was raised as a â€œpolitical agendaâ€ because of which a particular party won elections and also assumed power. The party could not remain in power as it â€œcould not manage to muster support for all times to comeâ€ as â€œsecular ethos and traditionsâ€ of India are strong. The High Court should not have treated â€œa fractured beliefâ€ as an â€œinherent beliefâ€ for taking decision on matter of a â€œvery sensitive natureâ€ which â€œwould have far reaching and wide ranging consequences.â€ It also puts to test the countryâ€™s secular democracy and impartiality of its Justice Delivery System.
The JUH is the first to file an appeal against the Allahabad High Courtâ€™s verdict on the Ayodhya-issue.