Thursday, October 7, 2010

Babri Mosque: The Verdict is Disturbing

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The Hindu

NEW DELHI, Oct 6: India's Left parties have described as “disturbing'' the basis of the judgment on the Ayodhya dispute delivered by the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on September 30.

The three-way division of the land is based on “faith and belief.'' This aspect of the set of judgements is disturbing as it accords primacy to religious belief and faith over facts and record of evidence, Prakash Karat, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), told journalists here on Tuesday at the conclusion of the party's two-day Polit Bureau meeting.

“It will set a dangerous precedent for the future. When the matter goes to the Supreme Court on appeal, it is to be hoped that this issue will be addressed,'' he said.

Describing the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992 as a criminal offence and an assault on the secular principle, Mr. Karat said it was true that this aspect was not considered by the Special Bench. Also, there were apprehensions that the reasoning set out in the judgments may be taken as a post-facto justification of the demolition. “The cases pertaining to the demolition which are being heard by other courts have to be seriously pursued,'' he said.

The response of the people to the verdict indicated that people found the settlement of the dispute by judicial process acceptable, Mr. Karat said. The general reaction was that the matter should not be once again used in a divisive manner.

Mr. Karat also ruled out an “out-of-court” settlement of the dispute and said most parties had decided to move the apex court and its decision “would be final.” Some parties were “now talking of building a grand temple, but not talking about the mosque. Will this attitude help?”

Several questions

The national executive of the Communist Party of India (CPI) said in a statement that the verdict was based on “faith and religious belief'' rather than the basic tenets of history, archaeology, legal logic and facts of other streams of scientific knowledge. It had led to several questions being raised with regard to the fundamentals of jurisprudence, the rule of law and the principles of secular democracy.

While appreciating the mature response of the people to the judgment, the party noted that the road to the Supreme Court was open. Until and unless the apex court finally disposed of the case, no party should try to interpret the High Court judgment to suit its political position, the statement said.

The Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav said the Ayodhya issue would not impact the Assembly elections in Bihar. The elections, he said, would be fought on the basis of development and the party's performance.

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