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Time for the liberals to get real

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Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan
Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan
The author is practicing advocate in the Madras High Court

The Sunni Waqf Board (SWB), a party to the suit/s and granted the remedy of ‘5 acres of land in a prominent place with Ayodhya” has thankfully confirmed that they were accepting the unanimous verdict of the Supreme Court. Of course, the contesting parties, on the other wise, have unanimously welcomed the decision. Peace has reigned in India, thus far, pursuant to the judgment. The Prime Minister of India has spoken and urged calm to move ahead. He has pointed out that India’s statute as the largest democracy got a huge shot in the arm as the upholder of Rule of Law as all ‘sections of society have by and large welcomed’ the verdict. The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has also gone on record echoing the sentiments from his leader.

Yet, our ‘liberals’ are egging on the community of a minority of ‘naysayers’ to dissent. It seems as though they are living and thriving in a different world. They simply cannot digest even the verdict of the apex court, that too a unanimous verdict from 5 wise men from the pulpit. These gentlemen and ladies are wiser than us all as they clamour that it was no ‘closure’ at all. They are harping and reopening old wounds for no purpose except to fan the faded or fading flames, if you will. “They” simply cannot accept the fact that Modi 2.0 is on the verge of fulfilling yet another manifesto promise of constructing a Grand Temple for Lord Ram in Ayodhya, perceived to be absolutely impossible or any time in the near future.

The future is here and now and upon us. These Lutyens Media a.k.a Khan Market log tried their darnedest to stop Modi returning to the helm in the May 2019 elections. They worked hard and Rahul Gandhi was propped as if he was all set to dislodge Modi. Rahul, to be fair, surprisingly had the spring in his step, and openly called Modi- Chowkidar Chor Hai and when he conflated it to a Supreme Court verdict on the Rafale defence deal, Rahul had to eat crow. The media noise made it as if the fight was equal and when Mayawati tied up with Akgilesh Yadav, ‘they’ concluded that this chemistry will trip Modi juggernaut. Not to be.

And well within hundred days, the legislative history of Parliament, Modi 2.0 created a host of records, as they managed a majority in Rajya Sabha. Emboldened, Modi-Shah conglomeration, embarked on repeal of Art.370 and in its wake Art.35 A of Constitution, granting Special Status to Kashmir. OMG cried these folks. It is illegal, unconstitutional. Modi 2.0 has hijacked the role of Constituent Assembly of J&K, in supplanting the ‘consent’ of Parliament, as sufficient. They were also up and angry with the ‘shut down and clamp down’ and accused even the top court of abdicating its responsibility in the vindication of human rights. It is all now being litigated in open and we await the verdict. So be it.

Truth is, one of the prime promises in the BJP manifesto, which the ‘other side’ has always taunted as as a ‘false promise’, when it became a reality, they were unable to digest it. And, mind you, Modi-Shah accomplished it, in full public view, of Parliamentary proceedings, with two thirds majority as well, in both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. Constitutional means were adopted for the obliteration of the effects of Art.370. of course, it is now under scrutiny of the Constitution Bench of apex court, as is always the case with the precept and practice of Rule of Law.

And now the unanimous verdict of the 5 Judges’ bench on the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid verdict. The Sangh Parivaar and BJP were also told to comply with Rule of Law and abide by the orders of the court of law. Then came the Allahabad High Court verdict with a three way division of 2.77 acres disputed land, by a majority verdict of 2:1. Along with the contesting parties, these liberals were also peeved and protested and appeals ensured and stay operated for over a decade.

“They” have always complained that there was inordinate delay in disposal of cases by courts and even sought dispensing with the vacation holidays. And when Chief Justice agreed to take up this festering sore on the Indian body politic, as a 134 year old litigation, beginning in 1855, it was ‘they’ who again used vitriol language urging the Supreme Court not to hear the cause ‘before elections’. Agreed and postponed.

And then when the Chief Justice fixed a timeline for both sides to make their submissions and stuck to it, they cried foul. They accused the Supreme Court of ‘asking their side more questions than otherwise’. Rightly the learned judged ignored the insults, focusing themselves on the cause. Forty days of hearings took place, only the second that such a long rope was given, after the famous Kesavanand Barati – Basic Structure doctrine case- in 1973. On the last day of hearing on 17th Oct,2019, the Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, was so incensed with the enormity of challenge he faced amidst overwhelming evidentiary challenge from the Hindu side, that he angrily tore the map that was circulated to him, as a contesting party. The Bench was not amused. Chief Justice concluded the hearings, after a full and fair hearing to both sides, at 17.00 hrs that day, much after ordinary closing hours.

And on 9th Nov, 2019, on a Saturday, not a working day, the bench assembles to deliver the unanimous verdict. The Allahabad High court had granted 1/3 decree to each of the 3 contesting parties- Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Waqf Board. The Supreme Court ruled that Nirmohi Akhara’s suit was barred by limitation and they made no case for the relief. As for the other two, the Supreme Court, chose law, over faith, culture and history as a court of law.

Legally, the top court found that the Allahabad High Court had treated the Title Suites filed by three plaintiffs as a ‘partition suit’ which was not permissible in law. They restored legality, that is all. And then all the contesting parties had been asked to give their suggestions/submissions in relation to ‘moulding the reliefs’ in the appeals. In addition thereto, there was also the contemporaneous Mediation process with Justice Ibrahim Khalifullah (retired Supreme Court Judge) and report was filed before orders were reserved in the appeals.

Based on the suggested/submitted ‘reliefs’ to be moulded allied with the reported and expressed willingness of Sunni Waqf Board to accept a larger piece of land elsewhere than the Hindu believed Lord Ram Janmasthaan, the Supreme Court invoked Art.142 of Constitution of India, which is uniquely theirs, ‘to do complete justice’.

It is this invocation of a constitutionally available power than is being complained of by ‘them’, when the Sunni Waqf Board itself has submitted to. Social media platforms are ingested with their carping and near contemptuous comments that the Supreme Court has rendered gross injustice despite concluding that Babri Masjid demolition was illegal. Not one of them appears to have read the 1045 pages of elevating prose. The Supreme Court has come to the irrefutable conclusion that the Janmasthaan as the place of birth Lord Ram was a matter of ‘faith’ but an ‘indicator of fact’. It may not be sufficient by itself but ‘continued and uninterrupted worship by Hindus was real not a myth’. This allied with the Archaeological findings of a ‘building with no Islamic characteristics below the Babri Masjid’ was of substantive evidence to uphold the claim of Ram Lalla, undeniably a juristic person, for the entire 2.77 acres, inner and outer court yards et al. It was not as if the Supreme Court did not invent the evidence or proof or facts to deprive the other side of any share in the disputed place.

To balance the equities, the basis philosophy behind Art.142, the Supreme Court has directed the Central/State governments to allot 5 acres to the Sunni Waqf to construct the Mosque, ‘in a prominent place within Ayodhya’. The constitutional court could not have played fairer.

Let us understand the facts. It was a title suit. Both parties or three parties claimed not a share or clice of the disputed land, but all of it. The Allahabad High Court was factually and legally wrong in slicing it or partitioning it. Step in the Supreme Court to set the law straight and give the proven and legitimate title holder Lord Ram, his due. Where pray is the folly, except in your warped minds? Sorry folks, India has moved on and shall too. Stop barking up the wrong tree to your continuing and eternal shame.

(Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan- Author is practising advocate in the Madras High Court)

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Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan
Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan
The author is practicing advocate in the Madras High Court
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