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Ordinance on Ram Mandir: An ordinance for self-destruction?

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Shridhar Prabhu
Shridhar Prabhu
Shridhar Prabhu is a Bengaluru based Advocate and writes on contemporaneous socio political and legal issues

Addressing Hunkar Sabha at Nagpur RSS Sar Sangh Chalak Dr. Mohan Bhagwat once again upped the ante on the Ayodhya issue by demanding an ordinance enabling construction of Ram Mandir. Nirmohi Akhada, VHP, Shiv Sena and many more organizations aligned to the cause of temple, have already been strongly advocating the ordinance route. While BJP Rajya Sabha MP, Rakesh Sinha, has proposed to bring a Private Member Bill, Dr. Subramanian Swamy, even with all his limitations as a Petitioner before the Supreme Court, is inexplicitly espousing for a legislation on Ram Mandir at Ayodhya.

It remains an irrefutable fact that all cases concerning Ayodhya issue – appeals against the Allahabad High Court’s decision in original suits, writ petition seeking enforcement of fundamental rights merited a speedy disposal and other incidental matters – merit a speedy disposal by the apex court. On the inordinate delays on the Ayodhya verdict, one is compelled to remind this often-cited famed statement of Warren E Burger, the former Chief Justice of the United States:

A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain the fabric of ordered liberty for a free people and three things could destroy that confidence and do incalculable damage to society: that people come to believe that inefficiency and delay will drain even a just judgment of its value…”  

As sequel to this irrefutable aspect, one cannot but enquire if the Hindu cause is tactlessly falling prey to a binary trap on whole the imbroglio. Unfortunately, whole of the Hindu point making brigade is either vague or vacuous on what should be content of the legislation that they are advocating for. Should the legislation say: ‘notwithstanding orders or judgements by any courts, all cases pending before all courts stand abated and the land in dispute shall hereafter vest with the Union enabling it to build a glorious Ram Mandir’? Fair enough. The very next minute, the opposite side will file a case before the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of this legislation and predictably insist that before the main matter is heard, the validity of the legislation be decided first.

In fact, this is precisely what the other side wants. This is precisely why Kapil Sibal had tried to push the hearing to July, 2019. If even after the opposite side’s ploy of making Supreme Court revisit the ratio in Ismail Faruqui judgement, Hindus refuse to understand the ruse, lord Ram alone has to save our people.

It would do well to draw a parallel from PVN Government’s law of 1993 viz, Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act, 1993. As seasoned master of dilatory tactics, PVN, wanted the Supreme Court to get itself engrossed with the validity of this legislation and judgement on the main matters gets delayed as much as possible. Alongside, PVN tried to use the Supreme Court for political purposes when a Presidential Reference on seeking Supreme Court’s verdict on what should be constructed on the disputed site. It is a different matter that apex court rightly rejected it. In sum, when the entire matter is sub judice enacting of a legislation would be not only futile but thoroughly counterproductive.

Ayodhya is not a lis between two contesting parties. It is reflective of a collective aspiration of all those who revere Ram, the embodiment of the idea of India. In fact, it remains a lesser known fact that one of the plaintiffs before the Allahabad High Court and now before the Supreme Court is none other than Bhagwan Sri Rama Virajman at Sri Rama Janma Bhumi, Ayodhya, also called Bhagwan Sri Rama Lala Virajman, initially represented by next friend D.N. Agarwal, a former Judge of the Allahabad High Court. This suit was a result of visionary action of late Ashok Singhal filed on the able advice of late Lal Narayan Sinha, the legal legend from a rural Bihar who rose to became the Attorney General of India. It was legal genius of Lal Narayan Sinha that ultimately ensured that seemingly impossible issue of limitation was overcome in the suits filed by the Hindus. Bhagwan Ram Lalla, like any other Hindu deity under law, is a perpetual minor, until court appoints his next friend. But for this initiative, Hindus would have forever been unsuited on the sole ground of limitation. It is trite law that limitation is always fatal in the original suits.

Did anyone think that Hindus would overcome this insurmountable obstacle of limitation? Call it providence or fruit of perseverance, Hindus, at least so far, have not got a raw deal on the legal front.

At this a crucial juncture a misadventure or even an innocuous misstep can cost dearly to the cause of Ram. Not that one needs to turn into a fatalist, but one needs to exercise perseverance, for justice hurried is justice buried.

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Shridhar Prabhu
Shridhar Prabhu
Shridhar Prabhu is a Bengaluru based Advocate and writes on contemporaneous socio political and legal issues
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