Refrain From Deciding Babri Masjid/Ram Janmabhoomi Case In Favor Of Any Particular Community: Activists File Intervention Application In SC

Refrain From Deciding Babri Masjid/Ram Janmabhoomi Case In Favor Of Any Particular Community: Activists File Intervention Application In SC

Human rights and legal resource platform, Citizens for Justice and Peace, has filed an Intervention Application before the Supreme Court in the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi land dispute case.

The Application names several social activists and intellectuals, including Shyam Benegal, Aparna Sen, Teesta Setalvad, Aruna Roy, Medha Patkar, Kumar Ketkar and Anand Patwardhan as the impleaders hoping to "intervene and inject an urgency and a sane voice in this dispute".

The story so far

The dispute over the land which was occupied by Babri Masjid has been an ongoing one for over a century now. The litigation began in 1885 when the Faizabad Deputy Commissioner refused to permit a temple to be built on the land adjoining the mosque. A title suit was filed in the Faizabad Court against the Secretary of State seeking to build a temple in the courtyard of the Babri Masjid. The Masjid was, however, demolished in December, 1992 by a mob of karsevaks.

Thereafter, in September, 2010, the Allahabad High Court awarded two-thirds of Ayodhya site to Hindu parties, and one-third to the Waqf board against which Appeals were filed in the Supreme Court.

The Intervention Application

The Applicants have contended that in light of the history of communal violence associated with the land, adjudication of the Appeals in favor of either parties "is bound to draw sharp reactions on both ends of the spectrum".

The Application goes on to challenge the Allahabad High Court order, contending that the judgment had been rendered without archaeological evidence. The decision, it submits, is based on "incorrect appraisal of the historical accounts and contemporary evaluation of the said historical records". It, in fact, contends that the impugned decision was "more of a political solution adopted by a court, not a decision based, as it should have been, strictly on facts and law".

The Application also blames the Governments for abandoning their obligations to uphold the rule of law, and to broker a solution, "blithely" making it the judiciary's responsibility.

It then prays that the dispute should not be looked at as a land dispute simpliciter and that the Court "should consider and refrain from adjudicating the present Civil Appeal/s in either of the communities favor in the larger public interest of safeguarding communal harmony."

The Application explains, "It is the apprehension of the Applicants that if the Hon’ble High Court adjudicates the present Civil Appeal/s in favor of either the contesting communities, it is bound to forge extreme opinion amongst the communities on both sides which may result in aggravated incidents of violence as had been perpetuated earlier by the involvement of various political parties posing a serious threat to the secular fabric of the country."

Further, highlighting the far-reaching consequences of the dispute, it avers, "... though the exact series of events that had occurred while the present dispute was being heard by the High Court might not occur again, it cannot be denied that the said dispute is not just a dispute between the Plaintiffs and the Defendants. The Plaintiffs and the Defendants represent a larger demographic of entire communities for whom the said dispute has become contentious and sensitive. It cannot be denied that, with the unrest in the atmosphere as is present today, there is still an evident possibility that adjudication upon the present dispute is likely to cause unrest and disturbances of violence in the country.

There is also a possibility that there still exist elements who are likely to exploit the controversy of the present dispute for their own advantage at the cost of lives of innocent. Thus, it makes it even more significant, that this Hon’ble Court may take into consideration that, the issue in the present appeals is not just a dispute over property between the Plaintiffs and the Defendants but has several other issues which will have far reaching effects on the secular fabric of the country."

Finally, the Application suggests that the Court may consider constitution of a larger Bench of seven Judges in order to ascertain the constitutional questions involved.

Petition Copy is available here