Editorial: Judgement reserved

At last, the Supreme Court Wednesday concluded the hearing in the Ayodhya case and reserved the judgement. The bench heard for 40 days the arguments of the Hindu and the Muslim parties. It granted three days to contesting parties to file written notes on “moulding of relief” or narrowing down the issues on which the court is required to adjudicate. The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday issued an order saying officials on “field duty” will not be granted leave till 30 November, attributing its decision to the festival season and security concerns ahead of the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict.

The instructions came on the last day of the Supreme Court hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case. The judgment in the matter is to be pronounced by 17 November. The five-judge Constitution began day-to-day proceedings on 6 August after mediation proceedings failed to find an amicable solution to the dispute. On Monday, the Supreme Court resumed daily hearings after a week-long Dussehra break. The six-decade dispute involves 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya, which is believed as the birthplace of Lord Ram.

In December 1992, a 16th Century mosque which stood at the spot was demolished. The mosque was built by Mughal Emperor Babur after allegedly demolishing a temple that marked Lord Ram’s birthplace. In the days that followed, 2,000 people died in riots across the country. On the last day of the Ayodhya case hearing, there were dramatic moments as a senior lawyer tore up a map and relentless interruptions infuriated the judges. Rajeev Dhavan, representing Muslim petitioners including the Sunni Waqf Board in the title suit, tore up a pictorial map showing the Ram Janmasthan. “Can I have your permission to tear it,” Dhavan said to the judges. He acted after Vikas Singh, the lawyer for the All India Hindu Mahasabha, tried to place a publication by former IPS officer Kishore Kunal as evidence during his arguments claiming ownership of the disputed land in the temple town in Uttar Pradesh. Now that the arguments are over, all eyes are on the verdict. Satyameva Jayate!

NT Bureau