Half century of Judicial Pussyfooting!
31/08/2010 12:27:02 H Balakrishnan
LETTER TO TNIE
Reference the report - " Ayodhya may take centrestage again " - (TNIE - 30 Aug).
The reader of the report may be forgiven, if he concludes that some momentous judicial pronouncement is about to be given. He may also be forgiven his ignorance that the ' Ayodhya - Babri Masjid ' imbroglio has been languishing in our Courts of Law for over half century !! The primary reason, in my opinion, lies in the fact that the 'secular' media has simply never ever told its readers the whole issue in its correct perspective. I also suspect that to many of our 'secular' journalists, history began on the day they filed their report !! In that light, here is a chronological sequence of this issue, which highlights only one fact - 'Judicial Pussyfooting ' !!
Caught in the Web of the Law Courts : What started as a simple ' title suit ' at the turn of Independence in an Indian Court of Law , got transformed into a Presidential reference of
07 Jan 1993 – " Whether a Hindu Temple or any religious structure existed prior to the construction of the Ram Janma Bhumi – Babri Masjid ( including the premises of the inner and outer courtyards of such structure ) in the areas on which the structure stood ? " In simple terms, for 44 years, our Courts of law ' Decided not to decide!! ' Here is the chronological sequence, culled from 'open source publications' !! A caveat is needed : THIS INFORMATION WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE IN 'SECULAR' PUBLICATIONS !!!
1955 : Their Lordships of the Allahabad High Court had observed then : " It is very desirable that a suit of this kind is decided as soon as possible , and it is regretted that it remains undecided after four years. The delay appears to be principally due to the fact that the record of the proceedings in the trial court was summoned by this court in 1953 on the application of the present appellants. Had this not been done , the suit would probably by now have been decided . - - - We , however , consider it extremely desirable that the suit should be disposed of at once and we accordingly direct that the record of proceedings is sent back to the lower court. "
1989 : In the intervening 34 years , the only contribution of the judicial process was that instead of two suits , there were five. All of them were taken over by the High Court . A Special Bench of three judges was constituted to hear them together.
1990 : On 12 Jan 1990 , the Supreme Court advised the Allahabad High Court : " If the defendants press the contention regarding the maintainability grounded upon limitation to be raised as the preliminary issue , the High Court which is trying the case will do well to entertain the request ." The Allahabad High Court refused to heed the counsel of the Supreme Court , and by its order of 22 Aug 1990 , refused to decide any issue as a preliminary issue. An appeal was filed against that order with the Supreme Court in
Sep 1990 , for if the suits were not maintainable at all , the matter would be over . Nothing was done . The appeal remained pending.
1991 : In Oct 1991 , the U.P. Government took over the land under and around the structure.Writs were filed both in the High Court and the Supreme Court against the acquisition. On 15 Nov 1991 , the Supreme Court transferred all the writs to the High Court . It said that the High Court was taking over the case for final disposal.
1992 : Even in Jul 1992 , the hearings were going on in the High Court . When Kar Seva beganin Jul 1992, the Supreme Court said that if the U.P. Government could stop the Kar Seva, the Supreme Court would would transfer the acquisition cases to itself and decide them all together. The Kar Seva was stopped. But the Supreme Court eventually decided not to take over the cases on the ground that the hearings before the High Court were in an advanced stage. It however stressed that the High Court should expedite the hearings and decide the case expeditiously.
Kar Seva was once again set for 06 Dec 1992 . The High Court concluded its hearings on 04 Nov1992. The U.P. Government and others repeatedly requested it to deliver its judgement, one way or the other. Nothing happened. Instead, one of the judges proceeded on leave. The inevitable happened on 06 Dec 1992. The High Court delivered its judgement on 11 Dec 1992 !!
1993 : The Presidential Reference quoted above. Nothing happened. As stated earlier , Their Lordships of the Supreme Court 'decided not to decide'. However , the judgement stated (para 57) : " - - - -. The Hindu community must, therefore, bear the CROSS on its chest, for the misdeed of the miscreants reasonably suspected to belong to their religious fold."
I quote the Belgian historian Dr. Koenraad Elst on his take on the foregoing sentence of thejudgement. "This illustrates nicely what we had all suspected for a long time: the English speaking elite in India has preserved the mind-set of the Christian British colonial rulers. The ruling class has borrowed its secularism from the anti-religious reaction in the late-Christian West. India is still under BROWN SAHIB colonial domination, and the legal apparatus which denies Hindus the right to their sacred site can, in circumstances critical to the establishment's legitimacy, still be used as an instrument of colonial oppression." A telling comment indeed!!
2003 : Nothing happened in the intervening period!! However, on 22 Aug 2003 , after more than half-a-century of 'judicial pussyfooting', the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) handed a sensitive report to the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court. The ASI had been mandated by the Court to excavate the foundation level underneath and around the demolished Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. In the winter of 2002-2003 the Court had ordered a search of the site with a ground penetrating radar by the company Tojo Vikas International Ltd., which had been used during the survey for the Delhi Metro Rail. Canadian geophysicist Claude Robillard concluded from the scans that there was 'some structure beneath the demolished masjid' (Rediff.com – 19 Mar 2003). It was on this basis that the ASI undertook the excavation work.
Hopefully, your 'secular' correspondent will now have a sense of perspective, if and when he files his next report on the subject !!
I hasten to add that I'm sceptical of a decisive verdict in this case, when their Lordships pronounce their judgment.
JAI HO !!
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