Home Indian Muslim Compromise, judicial mediation – experts react to Ayodhya verdict

Compromise, judicial mediation – experts react to Ayodhya verdict


New Delhi : Theology mixed with law and faith, an attempted compromise, an exercise in judicial mediation… The Allahabad High Court verdict dividing the disputed Ayodhya site between three parties and ruling that the Babri Masjid was built on the birthplace of Lord Ram provoked varied reactions from experts Friday.

“You cannot say that Lord Ram was born at one particular place and call it ‘Ramjanmabhoomi’. It is a case of theology, mixed with law and faith. You cannot say that god was born at this specific place,” said senior journalist and rights activist Kuldip Nayar.

“It is a fractured judgment. Judges have tried to please all the sections,” Nayar, also a former high commissioner to Britain, told IANS a day after the judgment of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court.

Judges S.U. Khan, D.V. Sharma and Sudhir Agarwal ruled that the entire disputed land in Ayodhya, which for decades became synonymous with Hindu-Muslim tensions, should be divided among the Sunni Waqf Board, Hindus and the Nirmohi Akhara, a Hindu sect. It also said the 16th century Babri Mosque was built on the birthplace of Lord Ram.

“At the end of it, they have managed to give a piece of land to all parties… The court has agreed to the plea that a mosque was built after demolishing the temple. This judgment was given in such a way that space for reconciliation could be left,” he said.

The court, he added, was more interested in pleasing all sections than in clarity.

“The silver lining is that 2010 is not the same as 1992. People of India have moved on and matured over the years,” Nayar observed.

According to noted historian K.N. Panikkar, the verdict was “some sort of an attempted compromise”.

“Whether this compromise is strictly on the basis of law is a doubtful fact,” said Panikkar, a former professor of modern history with the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.

Panikkar also raised questions about the manner in which the division of land had been made among three parties.

“It is not clear at all,” Panikkar said, adding that the court had completely overlooked the fact that the idol of Ram was placed in the masjid by use of force (in 1949).

“In fact, the judgment validates the aggression by one group of the claimants,” he said.

Former Lok Sabha secretary-general and constitutional expert Subash Kashyap said the judgment appeared to be “more an exercise in judicial mediation”.

“There are two possibilities: one is that both the sides approach the Supreme Court, the other possibility is that of negotiations outside the court.”

There is “no hundred percent winner or loser in the judgment”, Kashyap told IANS.

“It is too early to say whether there will be yet another prolonged legal battle or there will be negotiations,” he added.