It has been argued by some pro-BJP commentators
that several ancient undisputed structures like Sita ki Rasoi and Manas
Bhawan stand in the vicinity of the Babari Masjid and cannot be handed
over to the Muslim community in any circumstances. This is an erroneous
view. In fact, the Supreme Court has specifically justified the
acquisition of Manas Bhawan and Sita ki Rasoi. The Judgement itself
justifies the acquisition of these structures on the ground that
"In case the title to the Babari Masjid site is adjudicated in favour
of the Muslims, the Masjid will have to be rebuilt on that site" and
‘the requisite adjacent area’ ‘utilized in an appropriate manner’.
... "The justification remains that the same (acquisition of the
adjacent area) is necessary to ensure that the final outcome of
adjudication should not be rendered meaningless by the existence of
properties belonging to Hindus in the vicinity of the disputed structure
in case the Muslims are found entitled to the disputed site. This
obviously means that in the event of .... the disputed structure to be
handed over to the Muslim community, their success should not be thwarted
by denial of proper access to, and enjoyment of rights in, the disputed
area by exercise of rights of ownership of Hindu owners of the adjacent
properties. Obviously, it is for this reason that the adjacent area has
also been acquired to make available to the successful party, that part of
it which is considered necessary, for proper enjoyment of the fruits of
success on the final outcome of the adjudication".
Hence this above proposition falls to the ground. If considered necessary
to effectuate the purpose of the acquisition, acknowledged Hindu land can
be handed over to the Muslims. In any case, in and after acquisition,
there is no distinction between Hindu and non-Hindu land, it is all 100%
Government land, and the Government is the absolute owner thereof, except
the Babari Masjid complex site at least, whose title is under
The VHP has not produced any documents to support its claim that it owns
the area of 47 acres out of 67 acres by virtue of purchase from previous
owners or taken on permanent lease by the Government of UP. One would like
to know where their 47 acres lie. Though it has a right to compensation,
it is not known if it has filed a claim as owner with the Claim
Commissioner. As owner, it has also the right to the return of
‘unutilized’, ‘excess’, ‘extra’, ‘superfluous’ land after
the purpose of the acquisition has been fulfilled. But that comes later.
Today it has no such right.
However, the VHP is demanding return of land that it claims to have owned
before acquisition, now after 11 years, but before any progress toward
resolution of the dispute and the judicial verdict in the title suit. To
restore, any acquired land now is to undo the very act of acquisition
which has been held to be constitutional and has been justified by the
Supreme Court on the ground of necessity to re-establish communal harmony.
So how can acquisition be undone now. Only if the Parliament repeals the
Acquisition Act or amend it. But the Parliament, as presently constituted,
cannot and will not oblige the BJP.
The VHP faces another hurdle. The declamatory suit was filed in 1950 by
Nimohi Akhara (which is owner of the Ram Janamsthan Mandir adjacent to the
Babari Masjid site) and not by the VHP. This is part of the consolidated
title suit. Neither the VHP nor the RJMM Nyas was then born. So if the
title suit is decided in favour of the Hindu community, the site will have
to be restored to the Nimohi Akhara. It is known that Nimohi Akhara has
not transferred its rights to the VHP or to the Nyas. So the Nimohi Akhara
may decide to keep it and show the door to the VHP.
There are no two views on that the case should be expedited. In fact the
Muslim community has been demanding a day-to-day hearing ever since
February, 1986. On 6 December, 2002 I proposed that the Government create
three additional posts of judges in Allahabad High Court and then request
the Chief Justice to assign the three judges of the Special Bench
exclusively to the suits.
It is also argued by the Sangh Parivar that since, according to them,
every Hindu wants it, the Babari Masjid site should be handed over to
them. This is an unreasonable view based on ignorance of law. Can rights
of parties and questions of fact be decided by a referendum? There could
not be a worse example of majoritarianism. Such majoritarianism spells
disaster for the rule of law and for democracy.
Today, the real issues are whether the Government will allow the so-called
‘Karsevaks’ to congregate in Ayodhya, whether the Government will
allow the VHP unrestricted access to its pile of carved pillars etc.,
whether it will grant the VHP hordes free passage, or even provide them
technical assistance, to transport some pillars to the concrete platform,
or to another part of the acquired area, or whether it will use all its
power, including firepower, to stop the fanatic hordes in their tracks.
Will the Demolition drama be replayed?
However, to remove the public distrust and to set the record straight and,
above all, to curb the possibility of mischief, the Central Government
must administer a stern warning to, if not prosecute, the VHP that any
attempt to break the law shall be met with all the force at its command
and that the Government will not hesitate to use fire power to deal with
any attempted invasion of its property. It should place Ayodhya, at least
the acquired area, under army control and impose a ban on entry of
Karsevaks and Ramsevaks into Ayodhya. It should seal all possible access
routes from Karsevakpuram (where the carved pillars are piled) to the
acquired area and particularly to the concrete platform. It should,
finally, seal the stock of pillars etc. and take it into its custody, to
be released to the VHP/Nyas only when it is allotted land in the acquired
area for construction of the Mandir in accordance with law.
The Demolition was the worst act of Religious Terrorism in the history of
independent India. Another act of Religious Terrorism will demolish the
Constitution. Those who have taken the vow to defend the Constitution
shall be held accountable before posterity.
The Muslim community will draw the natural conclusions from the total
failure of the constitutional machinery and the defeat of the rule of law.
So will other deprived and weak sections. It will generate alienation. How
it will affect the future of the nation-building process can only be
imagined. Our country would be moving in reverse gear and towards