'Ayodhya Judgment Rewards Illegal Acts' : Muslim Parties Seek Review Of Verdict Allowing Temple In Disputed Site [Read Petition]
Challenging the November 9 judgment of the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya-Babri land dispute case, a legal representative of the original Muslim plaintiff in the case on Monday filed a review petition in the Supreme Court.
The petition has been filed by Maulana Syed Asshad Rashidi (President, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind), legal representative of M Sidddique, one of the original Muslim plaintiffs in the title suit.
"The review petitioner is conscious of the sensitive nature of the issue and understands the need to put a quietus to the issue in dispute so as to maintain peace and harmony in our country, however, it is submitted that there can be no peace without justice", stated the review petition at the outset.
While saying that every findings in the judgment are not disputed, the 217 pages review contends that it contains following "apparent errors" :
- The relief allowing construction of temple in the disputed site amounts to a virtual mandamus to demolish the Babri Masjid.
- The acts committed in 1934, 1949 and 1992 against the mosque, which were denounced by the Court itself, have been rewarded.
- The principle that no person can derive benefit out of illegality has been disregarded while giving title to Hindu parties.
- The Court disregarded the principle that a tainted cause of action cannot be sustained or decreed in a civil suit.
- Article 142 of the Constitution was wrongly applied in a civil suit.
- The mere claim that Hindu parties used to look at the central dome (for worshiping the birth place of Lord Ram) was elevated to a possessory claim.
- The Court did not appreciate that the structure had always been a mosque and had been in exclusive possession of Muslims.
- The rule of presumption under Section 114 of the Indian Evidence Act was disregarded on the question of use of mosque between 1528 and 1856.
- The Court erred in relying on travelers' accounts and archaeological findings, despite noting that they are inconclusive.
- The Court erred in equating wanton acts of destruction and trespass committed by Hindu parties to acts of assertion of claim over disputed structure.
- The Court erred in unevenly appreciating evidence and giving precedence to oral testimonies of the Hindu parties vis a vis the documentary evidence of the Muslim parties, which resulted in incorrect application of doctrine of preponderance of probabilities.
However, the review petition clarifies that it does not challenge the other findings of the Court, such as :
- Ram Janmabhoomi has no juristic personality.
- Method of worship unique to one religion cannot result in conferral of title to parties of one religion over parties of another religion.
- Deity is not a perpetual minor for the purposes of Limitation Act.
- Courts cannot correct historical wrongs.
- Acts subsequent to the annexation of Oudh in 1856 formed the basis of legal rights claimed by the parties.
- There is no evidence that a pre-existing structure was demolished to construct Babri Masjid.
- A finding of title cannot be based on archaeological findings.
- Accounts of travelers have to be treated with caution.
- The acts of Hindu parties in 1934 (damaging the domes of the mosque), in 1949 (placing idols inside the mosque) and in 1992 (demolishing the mosque) amounted to serious violation of rule of law.
- The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1993, is intrinsically related to the secular obligations of the country.
The review petitioner rues that despite making the above findings, the Court ultimately granted relief to the Hindu parties in the case.
In the November 9 judgment, a 5 judges bench comprising the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer held that the Hindu parties had a better claim of possessory title over the land, and allowed the construction of a temple in the entire area of 2.77 acres, under the aegis of a trust created by the Central Government.
At the same time, the Court acknowledged that the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 was an egergious act, and compensated the Muslim side by directing grant of 5 acres of alternate land for the UP Sunni Waqf Board for the construction of mosque. This was ordered by the Court to do "complete justice" invoking powers under Article 142 of the Constitution of India.