Ahead of the judgment of the Allahabad High Court in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suits on Friday, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday appealed for maintaining peace, order and harmony. It would be inappropriate to reach any hasty conclusion that one side has “won” or that the other side has “lost,” he said.
“It is possible that there will be one or more judgments delivered by the three-judge Special Bench. The judgments would have to be read carefully, and the findings of the Honourable judges on each of the issues in the four suits would have to be analysed meticulously, before any conclusions may be drawn,” he said in a statement here.
It would be reasonable to assume that one or both sides would immediately apply to the Special Bench for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. In fact, Article 134A of the Constitution allowed a party aggrieved to make an oral application in this regard immediately after the passing of the judgment.
“I would, therefore, appeal to all the parties to the suits as well as the general public and the media to reserve their opinions on the judgment or judgments of the Special Bench and not make any hasty pronouncements,” he said.
The Minister read out the two-page prepared statement before journalists and did not take any questions.
He said there were a number of ‘issues' in each of the four suits. “It is pertinent to note that the issues were framed by the trial court, recast by the High Court, additional issues were framed by the High Court and, in one case, issues were recast after certain orders of the Supreme Court.”
Mr. Chidambaram noted that the issues in the title suits involved complicated questions of fact and law.
“Among the questions of fact that are being canvassed are questions relating to possession, dispossession, worship, etc. Among the questions of law that are being canvassed are questions relating to maintainability of the suits, adverse possession, prescription, estoppel, limitation, res judicata, the interpretation of U.P. Muslim Wakfs Act, 1936 etc.
“I would, therefore, appeal to all the parties to the suits as well as the general public and the media to reserve their opinions on the judgment or judgments of the Special Bench and not make any hasty pronouncements.''
The Minister appealed to the general public to receive the verdict as the culmination of a legal process that “deserves our respect and acceptance.” The government was pleased to note that many organisations, including those connected with the parties to the suits, had appealed to people to maintain peace and calm in the wake of the judgment.
“Apart from making an appeal for peace, it is the duty of all organisations concerned to actively work to maintain peace. In particular, they must urge their members not to spread rumours or make provocative statements,” he said.
It was important that the State governments and the district administrations immediately activated the peace committees consisting of the residents of a ward or panchayat or mohalla, and urged such committees to maintain utmost vigil and defuse any situation that showed the first sign of trouble.