People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 41

October 10, 2010



Upon Supreme Court Now, to Deliver Justice


THE three-member Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court rendered its judgement on the 60 year old cases that sought the adjudication of the title deed of ownership of the disputed Babri Masjid/Ramjanmabhoomi land.  The three learned judges have given three separate judgements which cumulatively run into thousands of pages.  This judicial pronouncement is seen by many as more of a political adjudication than a legal one.   Many questions are being raised.  Elsewhere in this issue, some of these are discussed.  It is only natural that in a modern secular democratic republic as ours, many such questions will find place in a legal appeal  over this judgement in the Supreme Court. 


The public reactions after the delivery of the judgement clearly establishes the near universal acceptance of the judicial process as the only way of arriving at a solution over this dispute.  This is both welcome and is in accordance with the rule of the law that is derived from our Republican constitution. 


However, the people’s faith in the rule of law cannot be interpreted to mean that people unquestioningly accept law that is based on faith.  It is precisely this that Mr Advani,  who spearheaded the Ramjanmabhoomi agitation by leading the infamous `rath yatra’ that culminated in a bloody trail of communal riots and the eventual demolition of the Babri Masjid, seeks when he says that, “the situation no longer is faith vs law, it is faith upheld by law”. The Allahabad High Court was to adjudicate on contesting claims claiming title over the disputed land.  Having dismissed these petitions as being time barred, the Lucknow Bench proceeded to deliver the judgement proposing a three way division of the land based more on `faith’ and `belief’.   This raises some very serious  questions.  For instance, would the judgement have been the same if the Babri Masjid was not demolished and continued to stand today?  This is relevant in the sense that when the petitions were filed before the court, the Babri Masjid stood on that very spot.  Does this judgement, therefore, justify the demolition? This demolition was universally condemned and is seen as the biggest disfigurement of secularism which the apex court decreed as a fundamental feature of our constitution. 


Likewise, what about the FIR lodged by sub inspector Ram Dube of Ayodhya police station stating that a group of 50-60 people stealthily placed the idols of Ram and Sita in the central dome of the Masjid in the night of December 22-23, 1949.  The later sequence of events are vividly recorded by the Supreme Court in its judgement in Ismail Faruqui vs Union of India (1994).  Can the courts adjudicate on matters of `faith’ and `belief’?


Post judgement slowly but steadily the shrillness is mounting asking the Muslims to give up their one-third of the land  and join the `building of a grand temple’ in a gesture of reconciliation.  When the hated apartheid regime was defeated in South Africa, the Nelson Mandela government had to confront this issue of reconciliation between  the victims and perpetrators of inhuman crimes.  After wide debate, the conclusion that they arrived at was that justice was a pre-requisite for reconciliation rather than an alternative to it.  Thus was constituted the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


The truth is that the Babri Masjid existed for over four centuries.  The High Court relied on the `faith’ of the people who believe that Lord Ram was born on this very spot.  Separate legal proceedings are pending on cases related to the demolition of the Babri Masjid.  Justice must be delivered on these matters. 


The Supreme Court will now have to deliver justice upholding the people’s `faith’ in the rule of law.  It needs to be reiterated that this judicial process is the only  recourse that people have to seek a solution to such disputes.  It is, therefore, incumbent upon all to thwart all efforts that seek to sharpen communal polarisation and forcibly attempt to pressurise the Muslim community into parting with their share of the land which the court has granted them for the construction of a Masjid.  This judicial process must be allowed to come to its conclusion and deliver justice without any pressures being mounted that can weaken the secular democratic foundations of modern India.