By MM Special Correspondent
The members of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) might be at ease after announcing the decision to seek a review of the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya dispute, but they hardly realise the resentment their pronouncement has caused to the millions of people whom they had committed to abide by the top court judgement. While the litigants enjoy all the constitutional rights to go for a review, they are still supposed to pragmatically see the outcome in either way. Notwithstanding, the issues ceases to occupy any religious sanctity for the litigants, the people are still sentimentally attached to it despite naked overpoliticisation by both Hindu and Muslim sides. Large sections from Hindu and Muslim communities are driven by belief and jurisprudence respectively.
While majoritarian assumption reflects in the SC verdict, Muslims are by now largely consoled by the fact that the top court rubbished the allegations of Hindu right wing groups that the Babri Masjid was built after demolition of a temple in Ayodhya. Also, Muslims appreciate the court for assailing the act of placing idol in 1949 in the Babri Masjid and considering its demolition a criminal offence.
Now, the proponents of the move ought to clear certain reservations raised by the people whose representation the AIMPLB claims.
First, Muslim leaders have on various occasions stated their commitment to abide by the SC judgement in the case even if it goes against them. Then what prompted them to break the promise. Is it not backtracking? They can use jurists’ interpretation and constitutional provisions to defend their move, but they should also listen to the call of their conscience.
Second, many members of the AIMPLB, Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind and other parties stand exposed due to their approach over the years in this regard. The Muslims believe many of them are compromised. Do they still enjoy the support of Muslims if they claimed to represent the community?
Third, what if the court rejects the petition or stay the SC verdict. What if the court agrees to review its judgement and order construction of the mosque at the disputed site. Will they be able to build it there?. Or will they handover the disputed land to the Hindu parties?
AIMPLB needs a serious review
It is learnt that many members of the AIMPLB, which is not directly party to the dispute but provides legal assistance to the litigants, were opposed to the move to seek a review for obvious reasons. There is a sense in the Muslim community that some members in the AIMPLB having political ambitions prevailed upon the opponents.
The AIMPLB is primarily formed to protect the personal laws concerning the Muslim community where jurisprudents and religious scholars obviously play key role. Of late, however, it became “a launching platform” for making career in politics or bargaining positions in government bodies. Some clerics and politicians are recklessly using the AIMPLB to achieve their political ambition. Recently, one person who holds “significant influence” in the Board knocked the door of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) after he was ousted from Samajwadi Party (SP). Some clerics in the past have been seen lobbying for a Rajya Sabha ticket for an ex-parliamentarian who decided to contest Lok Sabha elections following denial of ticket by his party. Fearing division in Muslim votes, the “influential Maulana” pacified the parliamentarian by promising him to get for him a Rajya Sabha ticket. Ahead of every assembly and parliamentary elections, some ambitious mullahs of the AIMPLB are seen organising mega events to show their support base. Pathetically, it ends up getting a berth in assembly or so. Many are in waiting to realise their dream.
Since the AIMPLB is a representative body, its members show little responsibility towards its viability. They rather focus on protecting their personal institutions and jamaats. In short, a sense of accountability among its members is found to be missing. A body which claims to safeguard personal laws cannot afford to award membership without any qualification required for the purpose it was formed. Instead of being extra generous in awarding membership, the AIMPLB needs to set some bars in view of its aims and objectives. It should not give membership to anyone who bears expense of organising an event or paying the costs of lunch or dinner.