Justice not done in Babri case: Jamiat chief Arshad Madani.
Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — The leading petitioner in the Babri Masjid case, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (A), filed a review petition at the Supreme Court on Monday, challenging the court’s November 9 Babri Masjid verdict that gave the mosque site for erection of a Hindu temple and a five acre alternative plot to Muslims for construction of a new mosque.
Jamiat President Maulana Syed Arshad Madani said the judgement on the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmbhoomi title suit was, prima facie, not based on evidence and logic. After filing of the review petition, Madani spoke to the media. He averred that filing a review petition was a citizen’s Constitutional right. The suit was filed under provisions of Article 137.
“It is also a Sharia obligation on us to struggle for getting back the masjid till our last breath,” he said, while emphasizing that a mosque always remained a mosque and “it is devoted to the Almighty Allah.” Therefore, “whoever is endowed with the mosque has no right to surrender it.”
From day one, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind maintained that, “on the basis of evidences and facts, whatever be the judgment delivered by the court, we would accept it.” Even the five-member Constitution bench headed by the Chief Justice emphasized repeatedly the court’s commitment to uphold Constitutional values and stated that the title could not be established on the basis of faith and belief, Madani said.
“However, the judgement belied our expectations and forced us to go in appeal,” he said, and averred that the petition was filed to respect the sentiments of the right-thinking people.
In a reference to the band of apologist Muslims advocating a surrender of the mosque land, he said no individual, organisation or board has the right to surrender the mosque land in the hope of getting any alternative place or site. In the petition, Jamiat Ulama stated that the impugned judgement virtually granted a mandamus to destroy the Babri Masjid and construct a temple of Hindu deity Ram at the masjid site.
The Babri Masjid-Ram Janmbhoomi case was the longest lawsuit in the history of independent India and it took 70 years for delivering the judgement. But justice was not done. The five-judge Constitution bench headed by the CJI delivered the judgement by saying the site where Babri Masjid stood be set apart for a temple, and five acre alternative plot be given to Muslims for a new mosque.
The Jamiat said the decision for filing a review petition was taken after consulting a team of lawyers particularly Supreme Court senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, and Advocate on Record Ejaz Maqbool. Earlier, Jamiat’s working committee had also passed a resolution in favour of filing the review petition after the five-member expert panel gave its nod for the petition.
The petition stated that in spite of accepting unambiguously that “the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992 was a “serious violation of law,” the court finally handed over the Masjid site to the very forces responsible for the criminal assault on the mosque. “Thus, the court needs to review its own judgement.”
The review petition has drawn the attention of the court to a number of important points and the contradictions in the verdict in the Babri masjid case. The petition also stated that justice would have been done if the court had, by invoking Article 142, granted relief to Muslims by handing over the ownership of the mosque to Muslims and directed the government to re-build the mosque.”
Responding to a question, Maulana Arshad Madani made it clear that the purpose of filing the review petition was not to disrupt the country’s “communal harmony, unity and peace” but to use the privilege provided in the law to citizens to file a review request. “We filed the review also because the millions in the country including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and legal experts are viewing this court decision as one beyond their sense of understanding,” Maulana Madani added.
The judgement “legitimized majoritarianism and mobocracy” and hurt the secular fabric of our Constitution. “It is full of contradictions. While giving sermons on the values of equality and fraternity, an impression is that it ends up violating these very principles in its relief,” he said.
On the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board decision against filing a review petition, Maulana Madani quipped this has no bearing on the Jamiat petition. He pointed out that when the UP Waqf Board filed a petition in 1961, it had pleaded that it be treated as a representative law suit filed on behalf of all Muslims and this argument was accepted by the court. “Therefore, any member from the Muslim community can file a review petition in the apex court, and this suit was also filed in a representative capacity for the entire Muslim community. The review petitioner is entitled to approach the court because it appears there are patent errors in the impugned judgement dated November 9,” he said, adding the Jamiat Ualma-i- Hind was the first petitioner in the case.
Maulana Madani asserted that the claim of Muslims on Babri Masjid was based on historical facts and evidences that proved it was not built after razing any Hindu temple as was claimed by some Hindu groups, and that this fact was also accepted by the apex court in its verdict.
In the hope of this, Jamiat hired the services of eminent and leading lawyers and collected evidences, documents, and got a translation done of the old manuscripts to be presented in the court. The team of lawyers forcefully argued the Babri Masjid case before the five-member bench. “On these reasons, we hoped that the Ayodhya verdict would be in our favour.”
Despite declarations by the bench that faith would be no basis to arrive at conclusions, the end result of the verdict has given precedence to faith and beliefs of one side while apparently ignoring evidences and facts. “This is beyond our comprehension,” he said.
On the one hand, the five-judge bench upheld that a mosque was not built after demolishing a temple; that the idols were unlawfully sneaked into the mosque in 1949; and that the mosque itself was unlawfully demolished in 1992, he said. “On the other hand, the court ordered that a temple be constructed at the very site of demolition of the mosque. We never imagined such a verdict would be delivered,” he said, adding that the Babri judgement had sent shock waves in the legal fraternity and legal experts.
Madani said the verdict was delivered but justice was not done in the Babri Masjid case, as “the verdict is seen to have violated the due principles of law and natural justice.”