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"Can There Be Peace Without Justice?" Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan On Ayodhya Verdict [Video]

Mehal Jain
1 Dec 2019 12:36 PM GMT
Can There Be Peace Without Justice? Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan On Ayodhya Verdict [Video]
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Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who argued for the Muslim side opined that a review petition should be filed against the November 9 Judgment of the Supreme Court which allowed the Hindu parties to build the Ram Temple in the disputed Site of Ayodhya.He was speaking on the topic "The Constitution of India at 70" in an event organised by Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust at New Delhi.Excerpts From...

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Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who argued for the Muslim side opined that a review petition should be filed against the November 9 Judgment of the Supreme Court which allowed the Hindu parties to build the Ram Temple in the disputed Site of Ayodhya.

He was speaking on the topic "The Constitution of India at 70" in an event organised by Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust at New Delhi.


Excerpts From The Speech

"Those stones in the Babri Masjid belong to the Muslims! The land they have given away but the stones belong to them! I am not their spokesperson, but I would tell them to take these stones and get artists to build a great monument of the injustice that has been perpetrated!"

"What is this judgment as we see it? It is effectively an order to destroy, a mandamus to destroy! Let's assume that in 1992 the masjid was not destroyed and it was still standing today. The title in 1992 according to the judgment would have been with the Hindus. If it was still standing, the order of the Supreme Court properly read in fact means 'destroy it and move it'!...On the 'balance of probabilities', they said between 1528 and 1857, you have no evidence to prove that you prayed there...

A waqf is a waqf! If I don't pray there for a century, it doesn't cease to be a waqf! And from 1528 onwards, first the Mughals and then the Nawabs ruled there! Why on earth would there be, on a balance of probabilities, a masjid that was not prayed to when the muslims were in power? Ridiculous! They are saying Hindus had complete access to the whole site and at least the outer courtyard. How is it possible? In order to reach the inner courtyard, where the Muslims used to go, you have to cross the outer courtyard! The choice is very simple- the mosque was there! It is a walled mosque! It was owned by the muslims! An 1885 judgment says that as far as the Hindu right is concerned, they cannot build a temple there! All that the Hindus had was a prescriptive right of prayer!...They reversed it! They said the Hindus owned this walled mosque! Why? Because some gentleman said he had heard they prayed there before 1857? I was asked this menacing question by Justice Chandrachud...the sheer ridiculousness of this argument is there to be seen on the surface of the judgment only!"

"Why do I want a review filed? A review is the way in which the people who were before the court will state their problems with the judgment. It is the only authoritative way in which the Muslim community can tell the court, not the media but the Muslim community, that this is wrong with the judgment!...This controversy must come to an end. If the Sunni Waqf Board, under pressure, doesn't want to file a review, let them not! M. Siddiqui's the lead, he is from the Jamaat, he will file it. So will the others...the people of India have the right to know that this is why they say the judgment is wrong! It will be an authoritative statement on record, not on a TV programme or in a newspaper, but on record!"

"Why don't people want a review to be filed? For peace! Can there be peace without justice?...Why do you want the 5 acres? People say it is a symbolic gesture. Who wants that site? I don't want the birthright taken away from me! Don't take the site! But unfortunately, it is in hands of the Sunni Waqf Board because the court has said you take the site...There is still something to be done about the Babri Masjid case. This something is that which reflects on our secular mandate"

On the retrieval of the Constitution

"There are two sets of texts in the Constitution- the political texts, on elections, the Parliament and which go up to the Cabinet. The custodianship of which goes to our political rulers. And the second, I call them the justice texts, the rule of law texts. They are, I would like to believe, in the custodianship of all of us. But their ultimate custodianship is with the Supreme Court. Has the Supreme Court failed us? Unfortunately, again and again and again! What did they do to the CBI, the famous caged parrot? They knew they've done something wrong. So what did Justice Gogoi do? He said I am sending Justice Sikri and you are going to appoint somebody else! What happened in all the activist cases that went before the court? What happened in Arunachal? What happened in the simplest of the simplest matters? What about corruption? I think there is a political corruption, under the Prevention of Corruption Act, every time a defection takes place. You doing something contrary to the law and are inducing somebody for the benefit of somebody, which either 420 or 416 of the IPC!"

"There has been a total takeover of the political texts! The justice texts have been tweaked and tweaked and tweaked!...Democracy doesn't stop at an election, it begins after the election! If we think the political texts of the Constitution are exhausted in an election, then the very concept of the democracy disappears! We have seen the pressure on the media, the activists, on lawyers, on Muslims, and across the board!"

He lamented that Muslims are a "frightened community"- harbouring a fear that "nothing will come out of it" and "no one will come to our defence". He narrated the incident where the New Friends' Colony entrance to the Tinkonia park (where he went to take a walk) was open but the path from the Muslim colony was kept locked. On being asked why it was so, the gardener said, "Yeh Pakistan hai (this is Pakistan)". "I asked the kids why are you not going to school, why are you not playing your games, why are you smoking. They said 'humare liye kya rakha hai yahan' (what is there for us here)!", continued Dr. Dhawan.

"We are lucky to have a Constitution- Israel doesn't have one, neither does New Zealand. England of course got a Human Rights Act in 1998. Pakistan got a Constitution in 1956 which was destroyed in 1958. If the Constituent Assembly met today, we won't be able to agree on a Constitution. This is what we have to work with..."

"In 2019, the Constitution is site of struggle, not necessarily a site of welfare and justice, but a site of struggle. We have to invent this to heavy Constitution, which gave us only two custodians, to say that this constitution does not only belong to them, it belongs to us...the promise that I will atleast make to myself- 'we promise we will overcome any attempt to oppress us by and through this giant that our leaders have given to themselves to rule over us. We will overcome!...we have to turn this constitution upside down..."

"How does discussion take place in the Parliament? The triple talaq bill did not go to the select committee. GST went because they wanted it.. The entire rewriting of the labour law, which is the ultimate empowerment that our workers had, why was it not examined? Because the political texts are in the hands of people who know they have a majority...the power exercised in Kashmir? There was hardly any debate and the 6th August act was enacted. Now we have a strange situation in Kashmir. We have two constitutions- the J & K Constitution...it took 7 years. It can't just be destroyed. And the union constitution. Suddenly, an entire constitution has disappeared on the writing of two orders of President Kovind...I am appearing for the People's Conference, but it may turn out to be a farce because I don't have faith in what the judges will decide when the hearing begin on December 10"

"The constitution took 2 years, 11 months and 17 days- do you think the parliament has that kind of time today? We won't get another constitution. The constitution today as it being administered is based on hate, majoritarianism, suppression, division. How do we retrieve it? We need to come back and align to the Constitution that was made on love".

On free speech and suppression of dissent

"The great strike that took place- Balakot, Uri- whether it did or did not take place is irrelevant for my purpose. The point is that if anybody said that it did not take place, they were supposed to be guilty of treason! Freedom of speech, at that point in time, in one of the greatest democracies, managed to get an entire 'parivar' together and tell people who questioned the why and the wherefore that 'You are traitors! Your freedom of speech is seditious'", exclaimed Dr. Dhawan.

"Oh, Maharashtra! What have they done to you? What have they done?!...Why were they so keen on Maharashtra? Why don't they say, 'Shiv Sena, you occupy this chair. We don't care as long as we are in power'? Because the BJP wants to rule the third largest and the most prosperous state in India!...When you take the statistics from all over the country, of 4000 MLAs, only 1500+ are of BJP, BJP proper. Of all the governments, if you include the north-east governments, only 6 are BJP governments. Why do they collaborate with the NDA? The answer is simple- they need the money and the muscle of the NDA in case they need to force defections! It happened in Arunachal, where the CM committed suicide! How were they able to persuade the government without the money and muscle power? Uttaranchal?...Why do they want Maharashtra? Maharashtra here and Gujarat there, they have the little kingdoms of the BJP! And they will topple any kingdom, because if they don't succeed in these little kingdoms, they have the money and the muscle power!...Karnataka- the unholy mess that happened there! And what does the Supreme Court say now? That all the defections were induced!"

"As for the victory of the BJP in these massive elections, look at the President's speech when the house was called! Knowing that they are a majority government, they decide we will unfurl an agenda which we could not have done when we didn't have majority in the Lok Sabha- triple talaq! It is an invalid and void action! Do you have to double it up and say it will be a cognizable crime now? A majority was converted into the most odious majoritarianism that we know! The sound of democracy was turned off!"

"What happened to Amnesty India?! The moment they said something about the Babri Masjid, immediately the troops of the FCRA went to them! What happened to Indira Jaising? Her husband Anand grover was a UN rapporteur on public health. He then spent some of that money on a ticket and they said it is FCR money and a violation? The reason was that a certain mischievous Solicitor General, supporting a mysterious organisation called Lawyers' Voice, came before Chief Justice Gogoi, who then said take any steps as per the law. The steps were- raid the Bombay office, raid the Delhi office, raid the chambers, the residence! This was not just an example of suppressing voices, but an effort to make you lose the motivation to fight! That is the ultimate loss! To silence activists!"

"What happened in the middle of the Ayodhya hearing? The chairman of the Sunni Waqf Board has an FIR against him, and because of that FIR, he is subject to Adityanath. They wrote a letter to Shakil Ahmad saying, 'Change the AOR, change the solicitor'. Which means 'change Jilani', who is really the superstar of this case because he has seen it right from the beginning, everyday, in and out! See the effort being made-Yogi on the chairman, the chairman on Shakil, and so Shakil came along. I said, 'You put this letter. Let them come to the court. And let the court decide if we should go out!...but what did this to our motivation? If this motivation is lost, forget the exigencies of free speech...Not speech, but the will to speech, the will to movement, the will to associate is taken away! If motivation is lost, everything is lost!"

"Am I reporter for Reuters that I am giving you this information? No! This is the Constitution as it is working today!"

"What is this issue about conversion? Conversion is not right as long as it is to Islam or Christianity. But 'char vaapsi' is okay? What is it if not an attempt to convert back?...Sitting in a conference, I said, 'Pakistan jeevey...let Pakistan live'. This is my view, and under the constitution, this should be the policy of India! We criticise it for everything! I don't have a quarrel with Pakistan, but with terrorism! If you want a relationship with the neighbours, then follow what the Constitution says about secularism even in your foreign policy!"

"Look at the lives that have gone since 2015- pansare, dabholkar, lankesh! You cannot have a secular Constitution without a secular people. People are being murdered because of their free speech? Look at cow lynching- you have killed someone because you say that's the way it is! It is done on religious grounds!"

"Look at the Sahitya committee- what Nayantara (Sahgal) said and then what all of them did one after the other, one after the other, one after the other- 'If this is being done under the Indian constitution as we know know it, then we don't want your Sahitya Akademi awards'. And what did the people say?- 'This is nothing! It's a stunt!'

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