‘The Supreme Court would have ordered the destruction of the 16th century Babri Masjid had it still been standing.’
‘The court took advantage of the destruction of the Babri Masjid by kar sevaks on December 6, 1992 and permitted a temple on the very land where the centuries-old structure once stood before it was razed down.'
These are the contentions raised in the review petitions filed in the Supreme Court on Friday by Muslim parties against the Ayodhya judgment.
Friday marks the 27th anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition.
“The de jure, indeed de facto, effect of the direction in the judgment is to destroy the mosque if it still existed. Giving antecedent title to the Hindus, means that the site belonged to them in l992. The judgment, thus takes advantage of the destruction of the mosque in effectively holding that had the mosque not been destroyed in l992, this judgment would have ordered it to be destroyed,” Maulana Mahfuzurahman, represented by advocate Shakil A. Syed, said in his review plea.
The petition, settled by senior advocates Rajeev Dhavan and Zafryab Jilani, said he did not wish to “disturb the peace of this great Nation”, but “any peace must be conducive to justice”.
The plea said, “Muslims have always maintained the peace but Muslims and their properties have been victim of violence and unfairness treatment. This review is part of a quest for justice. The judgment under review erred in privileging peace over justice while not appreciating that there could be no peace without justice.”
Similar petitions were filed by Maulana Mufti Hasbullah, Misbahuddin and Haji Mahboob in the course of the day. They are represented by advocates M.R. Shamshad, Irshad Ahmad and Fuzail Aiyyubi. They were parties in the Ayodhya land dispute appeals.
These petitioners are backed by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. The first review petition was filed by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind.
The review petitions argued that Hindus could not have been given ownership of the land on the ground that they had exclusive possession of the entire site.
The petition said that it was admitted that Muslims entered and prayed at the site till December, 1949. They were later prevented because of the attachment (of the land). Hindu worship at the site was unfairly permitted though it had followed criminal trespass into the mosque and installation of idols.
The petitions asked how the court could accept the illegal installation of the idols and, at the same time, conclude that the idols had a valid claim to title on the land as a juristic personality. Besides, the title for the idol and area (swambhu) was claimed in law for the first time only in 1989.
“The judgment under review condones serious illegalities of destruction, criminal trespass and violation of rule of law, including damaging the mosque and eventually destroying it,” the review petitioners argued.
They said the property was a waqf in the possession of Muslims “at all times”. Hindus had only prescriptive rights to prayer. “Since it is undisputed that Muslims were praying at the site till December 16, 1949, and entered the mosque through the outer courtyard, it proves that Hindus were never in exclusive possession.”
The pleas said the judgment concluded that Hindus have the title despite accepting that Muslims did not abandon the mosque and that Muslims were illegally dispossessed.