Ayodhya appeal may throw up faith-fact issue: Sibal


New Delhi : “Can faith be the basis of a fact?” This fundamental issue may arise in the Supreme Court if it is moved by any litigant against the Allahabad High Court’s Ayodhya verdict, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal has said.

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Asked by Karan Thapar, who interviewed Sibal for CNBC TV18, about the issues the high court judgment has thrown up, the minister said: “There is, for example, the fundamental issue that will arise in the SC (Supreme Court), that can faith be the basis of a fact?”

Talking about “the Ramjanmabhoomi janmasthan issue”, the eminent lawyer said: “The majority in the judgment has held that there is a general perception amongst the Hindus that this is the janmasthan of Ram, and therefore the Ramjanmabhoomi…and the conclusion of the judgment is that a Ram temple should be built there. That issue will certainly arise in the SC.”

The minister asked the leaders of the political parties to make “simplistic statements” on the issue, as “every issue that arises from this case is complex”.

Sibal said though historians have made statements on the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report, accepted by two of the three high court judges who delivered the verdict, “in the ultimate analysis, the Supreme Court will definitely look (into the issue).”

“Remember, this is the first appeal. In normal circumstances, these matters are not decided by the high court. But there was a special dispensation. The high court was charged with the responsibility of doing so. So, when it comes up in appeal, the Supreme Court is going to look at each issue of fact and law meticulously — especially of fact,” said the minister.

One of the high court judges said there was a non-Islamic structure underneath the mosque — what does that mean? he asked.

“Is every non-Islamic structure a Hindu temple or is it a Hindu temple? Whether it is a non-Islamic structure or not? But these are factual issues again, on which I have no expertise at this point in time. But this is a fundamental issue that arise on facts,” Sibal added.

Asked about the high court judges’ acceptance as “Ramjanmabhoomi itself as a deity”, the minister said: “That’s a very very complex legal issue”.

“Because remember, the Ram Lalla was placed in 1949 in the sanctum sanctorum. Whether that act by itself translates this into a deity or not I don’t know. There again the Supreme Court will apply its mind and decide,” Sibal said.

“But quite frankly, all these issues as I said are highly complex, highly charged and, therefore, the Supreme Court will be very very careful and meticulous in analysing the judgment and coming to a conclusion consistent with the constitution and the laws,” he said.

Rejecting the notion that the government should step in as the high court itself has said that the status quo will continue for the next three months, giving time to the three parties to find a method amongst themselves amicably to divide the land in three equal parts, Sibal said: “The government has no role to play in this.”

“The government can only state publicly that it would like the matter to be resolved by the parties concerned, but I don’t think it should involve the government in forcing a decision of this very complex issue,” he said.