The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board has decided “in principle” to become an intervener in the appeal to be moved by the Sunni Central Board of Waqfs in the Supreme Court against the Allahabad High Court's judgment in the Ayodhya dispute.

The board will meet in New Delhi on October 9 to analyse the verdict and discuss the grounds for challenging it. Its working committee will meet on October 16, when a formal announcement on the board becoming an intervener is likely to be made.

The board's Babri Masjid Committee convener S.Q.R. Ilyas told journalists here on Sunday that a consensus had emerged among the AIMPLB members that the High Court judgment, unless annulled by the Supreme Court, would result in faith being treated as a valid ground for deciding property-related disputes in future.

“As the supreme religious body of Indian Muslims, the Personal Law Board considers the High Court verdict unacceptable. By seeking itself to be impleaded as an intervener litigant, the board will convey to the Supreme Court its stand in favour of deciding the Ayodhya matter in accordance with the settled principles of law.”

Dr. Ilyas, who was here to attend a convention of the Jamat-e-Islami Hind, said the board would carry forward the “struggle for justice” within the legal framework and refrain from giving any communal or political twist to the dispute.

The Muslims, he said, were disappointed by the court's “strange logic” for allowing the idols surreptitiously placed in the Masjid in 1949 to stay at the disputed site.

The board felt that the dismissal of the Waqf Board's suit as time-barred was erroneous and the division of the disputed land among three sets of litigants went against the Supreme Court's 1994 ruling that revived the title suits and treated the Masjid site as a single unit.

Asked about the scope for reconciliation, Dr. Ilyas said the judgment had made the attempts at settlement difficult. Any initiative could be taken “only after the final pronouncement by the Supreme Court.”

And the board did not receive any proposal for talks from any quarters.

Legal infirmities

Dr. Ilyas pointed out that several aspects of the judgment had “legal infirmities.” These included the findings that the Muslims and the Hindus were “praying together” in the mosque, the discovery of pillars of an ancient temple during the excavations by the Archaeological Survey of India, and the Hindus believed “since time immemorial” that Lord Ram was born under the Babri Masjid's central dome.

He also took exception to Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram declaring that the verdict did not justify the mosque's demolition without indicating when those involved in the December 6, 1992 incident would be punished.

“Is the Union government really sincere in prosecuting those responsible for razing the Babri Masjid?”

Despite the Liberhan report naming 64 persons having a direct role in the demolition, no fresh criminal case was registered, while conspiracy charges were dropped against the prime accused, Dr. Ilyas said.

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