By J J Ahmad
The Ayodhya verdict is being hailed as “historical”. It is indeed a historical judgment but for a different reason. Through this Verdict the Supreme Court Justices, consciously or unconsciously, have expressed their helplessness in giving the verdict in accordance with the facts. This marks an admission that the judges can no longer work independently of the political atmosphere in the country created by the political bosses in league with the media. Judges too are human beings. They have ideological, social and other proclivities and pressures. They too watch the same media as the common people do and they too can be affected by the propaganda unleashed by the regular and social media.
The judges must be hailed for putting many if not all the facts in the Judgment despite the pressure. They have clearly mentioned that the archaeological evidence is not enough to prove that the mosque was built on the site of an already existing temple. They have clearly declared that they are not concerned with the theological aspects whether related to the Astha about the birth of Ram or the correctness of the building of the Mosque. They have also accepted the fact that till 1949 the Friday prayers were regularly offered there. Most importantly the Verdict has described the various acts of desecration of the Babri Masjid including the putting of the idols and destruction of the mosque, both of which, according to the verdict were in violation of the law. It has also recognised that Hindus were worshipping in the outer courtyard partitioned through a fence, the inner courtyard being used by Muslims. If still, the court felt that in conclusion the Hindu claim to the whole disputed land is stronger, this appears to be the recognition of the feelings of certain sections of the majority community rather than the legal facts.
Had the court wanted, it would have openly accepted the Astha argument and the claims about the archaeological evidence in favour of Mandir. Then the whole judgment could have appeared more consistent. But choosing to give the facts the way they are but saying in conclusion that the claim of Hindus to the whole land is stronger than that of Muslims, it sums up their dilemma.
The judgments of the courts can be and should be analysed but they must be respected. Any disagreement or dissent must be within the democratic parameters.
Finally, what the Verdict appears to have confirmed is that Muslims have been wronged rather than being wrongdoers. This is confirmed by the direction in the Verdict about 5 acres of land to be given to Muslims as compensation for the destruction of their place of worship. This is another matter that in all likelihood Muslims will not accept this offer. They were more interested in the correctness of judgment rather than being given with some kind of alms.
If this verdict is taken as the criterion it means that those who were instrumental in the destruction of Babri Masjid should be behind the bars soon. But in all probability again, the political and media pressures will dominate and the judges will find “reasons” to set them free.