As the century long Ayodhya dispute is set for its climax judgement somewhere between mid-November, the Muslim litigants have decided to pull out every pigeon from their hat. From high voltage theatrics on the last day of the Ayodhya dispute hearing, to subtle threats to the apex court and the country, they have tried it all, as the Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Muslim parties to submit their written submissions on the ‘moulding of relief’.
Essentially, ‘Moulding of Relief’ is a legal term. It is a relief measure given to the parties against whom the verdict might go. Both the Hindu and Muslim parties submitted these notes, and described in them what they would like to have in case the verdict goes against them. It was the last attempt of both parties to ensure that the verdict comes in their favour, and if not, at least some measures are taken for them as well so that the verdict is not a complete setback for one side.
Of-course, pre-empting a defeat in the case, the Muslim side decided to issue veiled threats to the judiciary stating what all could go wrong if the verdict is not in their favour. At first, the written note, for reasons best known to the Muslim side, was submitted in a sealed cover. This invited objection not only of the Hindu parties, but also the Supreme Court Registry itself. Noteworthy is the fact that despite the note being in a sealed cover, it found coverage in some sections of the media, primarily The Indian Express. A submission by Rajeev Dhawan and other Muslim litigants stated: “The decision by this Hon’ble Court, whichever way it goes, will impact future generations. It will also have consequences for the polity of this country. This Court’s decision may impact the minds of millions who are citizens of this country and who believe in constitutional values embraced by all when India was declared a republic on January 26, 1950… Moulding the relief is the responsibility of this Court, which itself is the sentinel of our Constitution… This Court must also consider how future generations will view this verdict.”
Issuing such threats to the nation reeks of desperation. It is more than evident from the drama staged by Rajeev Dhawan (Counsel appearing for the Muslim parties) on the last day of hearing, as to which direction the verdict is about to take. The man tore up evidence which was presented to him before the court. The CJI sarcastically took a dig at Dhawan and stated “You may shred it further”. Not only did Dhawan engage himself in futile theatrical acts, but he also came up with a melodramatic script. He alleged that questions were being put only to the Muslim parties, and that the Hindu side was not subjected to such an inquisition. The Sunni Waqf Board, probably on the advice of Rajeev Dhawan also said that they were willing to give up their claim on the disputed land, provided that the Uttar Pradesh government takes the responsibility of 22 historical mosques in the state. This only goes on to prove that they have foreseen an imminent defeat in the Ayodhya case. As such, they are now seeking immunity for other mosques, like the ones at Kashi Vishwanath and Mathura. It is also a move aimed at collecting goodwill before the verdict is delivered.
The fundamental question which arises is: Why are the Muslim litigants threatening a severe backlash in case the verdict is not delivered in their favour? Do they really think that the Muslims of this country would be out on the streets indulging in violence? This is nothing but an attempt to garner a balanced verdict, instead of a clean sweep by the Hindu side. As such, they are threatening not only the judiciary, but also the nation at large that if the verdict is not in their favour, the backlash might be such that it affects the future polity of the country. This, however, is a misplaced opinion. As for the state of Uttar Pradesh, it has already imposed Sec 144 in Ayodhya. For such a sensitive verdict, the state will take ample measures to ensure that no violence takes place after the verdict is delivered. If the state of Jammu and Kashmir can witness the abrogation of Article 370 with minimal violence, the state of Uttar Pradesh, rest assured, will be witness to no major violence. Of course, there will be always some elements that will be looking to disrupt peace (as was evident from the brutal killing of Kamlesh Tiwari), however, the state will be more than well-equipped to handle such situations after the verdict on the sensitive issue is delivered.
The Ram Janmabhoomi verdict, if in favour of the Hindus, will set a historic precedent across the nation as it will rightfully give legitimacy to all such historical temples which have faced the brunt of brutal Islamic invasions over centuries. At sites, where Mosques have been erected by medieval invaders after destruction of temples, Hindus will have the right to demand the restoration of such temples. The only impediment to this, however, is the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. The legislation referred to seeks to “maintain the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on the 15th day of August, 1947.” Section 4 (1) of the Act expressly provides, “It is hereby declared that the religious character of a place of worship existing on the 15th day of August, 1947 shall continue to be the same as it existed on that day.” The Muslim side in the Ayodhya case set a condition for their withdrawal of claim from the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute. They demanded the strengthening of this very Act. Hindus rightfully would demand restoration of their sacred temples, and the Muslim side for this very reason, wants the Places of Worship Act to be made watertight. On this matter, the ball is in the Modi government’s court. They must step in and abolish this Act at the earliest.