The Indian Supreme Court (SC) has stayed the Allahabad High Court’s judgment in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, calling it a “strange” verdict.
Although there was complete calm on the ground in Faizabad where Ayodhya is located, the SC’s intervention raised questions about the reasoning for the high court judgment – whether it was law or faith.
A SC bench, comprising Justice Aftab Alam and Justice RM Lodha, was hearing the case on Monday. It described the September 2010 judgment of the high court as “strange”, especially the three-part division of the disputed site. Justice Lodha observed that no party had asked for such a partition and the court had done it on its own.
A three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court, in a lengthy judgment that ran into more than 5,000 pages, had directed that the 2.77-acre land on which the structure had once stood be partitioned into three parts among Muslims, Hindus and the Nirmohi Akhara. In its judgment, the high court referred to 274 books and cited 800 judgments.
During the half-hour hearing in a crowded courtroom, the judges remarked that “a new dimension was given by the high court as the decree of partition was not sought by the parties. It was not prayed by anyone. It (the high court judgment) has to be stayed. It is a strange order,” the bench said.
The court clarified that there shall be no religious activity on the 67-acre land acquired by the central government following the 16th century structure’s demolition by Hindu devotees. The present order substantially continues the orders that the SC had passed in 1993 and 2002, awaiting the judgment of the high court regarding the site’s ownership.
“It is a difficult situation now, the position is that it (the high court judgment) has created a litany of litigation,” the bench observed.
The bench was hearing a batch of appeals filed by the Nirmohi Akhara, Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, Sunni Central Wakf Board and others. The wakf board and Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind want the entire high court judgment to be set aside. According to them, the high court relied on faith rather than evidence.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2011.