The CJP would like to place on record the facts regarding the hearing of the Babri Masjid-Ayodhya intervention application filed by 32 citizens that took place on February 8. Various newspapers and websites are presenting a mis-representation of the proceedings that took place in the Supreme Court. An article on India Today’s website suggests that this IA filed by concerned citizens on the issue was ‘denied.’
Interestingly, the same report states a little later in the piece, the SC merely said that the matter in this IA and several others too would be decided at a later date. One way or another, the matter has not been settled and for prominent English language dailies such as Times of India and a few Hindi electronic media networks to suggest otherwise, appears curious.
Senior counsel, Chander Uday Singh and Aparna Bhat appeared for the petitioners. The SC bench headed by CJI Dipak Mishra merely said that the matter of whether a bunch of interventions would be heard or not would be decided at a later date.
Thirty two eminent personalities and activists including Shyam Benegal, Aparna Sen, Medha Patkar, Anil Dharker, Teesta Setalvad and Aruna Roy have intervened in the politically sensitive Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit case. In this IA, filed on December 1, 2017, they have urged the special bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that the 2.77 acres of disputed land shall not be given either to Hindus or Muslims but be used for a non-religious public use.
"We are public spirited citizens from various walks from life and across the length and breadth of India who feel it is critical as a commitment to the foundational value contained in this Constitution, to intervene and inject urgency and a sane voice in this dispute," they argued in their petition.
“Apart from the parties of this dispute, there are vast majority of Indians, voiceless and unheard who have been mute victims to the festering sores and violence caused by this dispute.
The SC is hearing a bunch of appeals against the 2010 Allahabad High Court ruling that the 2.77 acres of Ayodhya land be divided into three parts, with one-third going to Ram Lalla represented by Hindu Mahasabha, a third to Sunni Waqf Board and the remaining one-third to Hindu religious denomination Nirmohi Akhara. The three-judge bench was not unanimous that the disputed structure was constructed after demolition of a temple, it did agree that a temple or a temple structure predated the mosque at the same site. The other parties in the case are Shia Waqf Board and Uttar Pradesh government.
Political and religious leaders mainly from the far, extremist Hindu right are pushing for the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya where the Babri mosque was destroyed by a mob, instigated by leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today occupying high constitutional posts, on December 6, 1992.
The 32 petitioners also include slain filmmaker Safdar Hashmi’s brother Sohail Hashmi, documentary maker Anand Patwardhan, academics Ganesh Devy, Jayati Ghosh, Kalpana Kannabiran, Muniza Khan and G Haragopal, editors Om Thanvi and Kumar Ketkar, businessman Cyrus Guzder, writer Kiran Nagarkar, Rupa Mody whose son, Azhar Mody went missing during the 2002 Gujarat riots and many other eminent personalities from diverse backgrounds.
“We are public spirited citizens from various walks from life and across the length and breadth of India who feel it is critical as a commitment to the foundational value contained in this Constitution, to intervene and inject urgency and a sane voice in this dispute.
This application says, "It is our apprehension that if the Hon’ble court adjudicates the present Civil Appeals in favour of either the contesting communities, it is bound to forge extreme opinion amongst the communities on both sides which may result in aggravated incidents of violence as had been perpetuated earlier by the involvement of various political parties posing a serious threat to the secular fabric of the country.
"In light of the history of communal violence associated with the land, adjudication of the appeals in favour of either parties is bound to draw sharp reactions on both ends of the spectrum," they contended.
The petition challenges the order passed by the Allahabad High Court that the area covered under the erstwhile central dome of the now demolished mosque in Ayodhya was the birthplace of Ram. The petition claims that the order was passed despite the absence of archaeological evidence and by selectively accepting and rejecting historical evidence. SC deferred the hearing of the title dispute case to March 14 since compilation of documents was not over.