Babri Masjid before its demolition. It was still a mosque in 1992 when Hindutva mobs demolished it, and namaz was offered there until 1949 when under growing pressure from Hindutva forces, it was locked and made out of bounds for the public. However, Hindu puja was permitted there once a year.
This post is an analysis of the Allahabad High Court judgement of September 2010, on the BabriMasjid /Ayodhya issue. The final judgment ruled that the disputed land would be divided into three parts, one third going to the Hindu Maha Sabha which represented Ram Lalla, one third to Sunni Waqf Board and the rest to Nirmohi Akhada including Ram Chabutara and Sitaki Rasoi.
This essay was written at the time, and published in Economic and Political Weekly. Two of the key issues of this case arose in two of the recent judgments of the Supreme Court on other matters.
One, the status of ‘Next Friend’, which is central to the Ayodhya case, was brought up in the judgement on the Bhima- Koregaon Five. Regarding the PIL filed by historian Romila Thapar and four other eminent persons challenging the alleged-unlawful arrest of these five activists,
the court assumed that the writ petition has now been pursued by the accused themselves and was of the opinion that the petition, at the instance of the next friend of the accused for an independent probe or a court-monitored investigation cannot be countenanced, much less as a PIL as the petitioners cannot be heard to ask for the reliefs which otherwise cannot be granted to the accused themselves.
Two, the status of the deity as a person in law came up centrally in the judgement on Sabarimala.
Apologies for posting this long piece, which is not a blog post but an analytical essay closely examining the 2010 judgement by Allahabad High Court. I have not updated it in any way, as that is the judgement that currently stands. The case is currently in the Supreme Court.
The Ayodhya judgement: what next?
Published in Economic and Political Weekly Vol 46 No. 31 July 30 – August 05, 2011
Since the Allahabad High Court judgement on the Ayodhya dispute was delivered on September 30, 2010, a substantial body of reflection upon it has emerged. Historians, political commentators, legal scholars and lawyers have all produced serious and engaged critiques of the judgement, pointing out flaws in reasoning and flaws in law. In an engagement with the debate so far, particularly with the critical voices, of which I am one, I hope here to develop a composite picture of the problems with the judgement, currently under appeal in the Supreme Court. And to ask, what are its weakest links?