The Supreme Court's three-judge bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph, has deferred considering the case regarding land ownership of Babari masjid to early January 2019, in an apparent blow to the Sangh Parivar. The case of ownership of the masjid in Faisabad dates back by about 68 years.
The CJI has also made it clear that even in January, only a date for the case hearing will be fixed, and that the hearing will be by a new bench. The apex court's decision has come as a bolt from the blue on the Sangh Parivar which was been planning to make the Ram Janmabhumi issue its main propaganda plank in the the general election due in the first half of 2019. As things stand now, early next year the bench to be decided by the CJI, will start hearing the case from a date of their choice. There is little likelihood of the hearing ending speedily and easily. What the Supreme Court has pending before it, are appeals by all parties concerned on the verdict of Allahabad High Court issued in September 2010 issued after years of waiting. The Supreme Court has already made it clear that it would not go into the claims or disputes related to faith or religion, but will only consider the issue of land ownership over the 2.27 acres of land where the Babari masjid was situated and was taken over by the government.
Although the Allahabad High Court tried to resolve the case by partitioning the disputed land among Nirmohi Akhara, Hindus and Muslims, that decision was not acceptable to any of the parties. Therefore, all of them approached the Supreme Court. In the meantime, there were some conciliation attempts to settle the case amicably, but all in vain. The reason is clear: a section of devotees of Sri Ram believe that the Muslim place of worship built in 1526 by Mir Baqi, the Governor of Emperor Babar, was situated in the same place where the epic hero Sri Ram was born in Treta Yuga. And the Sangh Parivar consistently tries to make political capital out of that belief. They are not prepared to accept that belief is separate from ownership. And the Sunni Waqf Board which has been holding custody of the place by documents, is not prepared to relinquish ownership of a place which they have used to worship the only God for over four centuries.
In this matter the only course towards a solution, is to have a final judgement from the apex court, whenever that be. But Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Shiv Sena and other Hindutva organizations, who have waited so far, do not have the patience to wait till such a final decision for one simple reason: when the general election is drawing near, the issue for them is not religious or faith-related, but purely political. That is why the VHP has demanded that the government should ot waste time by waiting for the court judgement, and should pass legislation for temple construction within the winter session of the parliament itself. It is the same demand that they have been raising every five years during election time. In folk tales, each year in the monsoon month of Karkataka, while in trouble with heavy rain, the monkey will say that everything else will wait until after building a house. But the monkey has never built a home. Similar is the case with the saffron brigade. Right from LK Advani, several leaders have made rath yatras one after the other. And it is quite long since seven a half lakhs Ram silas have been brought to Ayodhya from different parts of the country and the work on pillars of a Ram temple have started too. But till this day, only the temple has not materialized. This is not because it was blocked by Muslim religious minority or others, but only because of the insistence that the temple has to be in the same plot of a few cents where the Babari masjid had stood. Whether a legislation is possible given this impediment, is the cardinal question the party concerned should answer. Or else, as happened in the case of women's entry into Sabarimala with an open challenge against the judgement of the constitutional bench, they should openly declare that they do not care for the court judgement. When the country is preparing to face a democratic election, what repercussions such a declaration will have, is a matter to be pondered by none other than the Hindutva front led by Amit shah, Narendra Modi and Mohan Bhagwat.