The Supreme Court has given a final verdict on the vexed Babri Masjid-Ram Janambhoomi dispute.
In a constitutional democracy, it is the duty of every citizen to accept this unanimous verdict of the apex court, following a due process of law, subject to legal remedies. Swaraj India calls upon all Indians to accept the verdict in this spirit even if they do not agree with its substance.
The verdict leaves much to be desired. While the Supreme Court observed that the demolition of Babri Masjid by a mob was an unlawful act, yet its verdict appears to legitimise that act. While the Supreme Court has acknowledged that neither party has legitimate claim on the disputed land, yet it offers it to one of the parties. No doubt, the court attempts to craft a compromise but it does not appear fair or consistent with the court’s own reasoning. The Waqf Board and many activists are not happy with the compromise offered by the court and with good reason. There is an apprehension that the growing majoritarian sentiment may have cast its shadow on the Supreme Court as well.
Notwithstanding all these infirmities, this verdict should be accepted as a closure to this dispute that has cost the country a lot. The Supreme Court must now also take steps to ensure that those guilty of the demolition of Babri Masjid are punished expeditiously.
We fervently hope that this verdict brings to closure this and all such disputes. We expect that government, courts, and society at large will remain firm to implement the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 passed by the Indian parliament that bars any disputes on the status of religious places as these stood on 15 August 1947.
This is a moment to reflect for all of us. This is a moment to introspect for those who frequently asserted that faith is above law and they will not accept the judicial verdict. We hope that this verdict leads to universal respect for rule of law. This is also a moment for secular politics to reflect about its inherent weaknesses that brought the situation to this impasse. This is the moment to rethink and revitalise secular politics.