New Delhi: The stage is set for yet another round of legal tussles over the Ayodhya title deed with the Sunni Waqf Board, one of the complainants in the controversial Babri Masjid case, deciding on Tuesday to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the ruling of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court to divide the disputed land into three.
However, in contrast, both the main national parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), sought a less contentious closure and backed an amicable settlement.
In a meeting in Lucknow, the Sunni Central Waqf Board decided to move the Supreme Court against the Allahabad high court’s 30 September order dividing the disputed land in Ayodhya among three parties.
The court has ordered that the 2.77 acres of land be divided between the Hindus, the Muslims and the Nirmohi Akhara, a Vaishnavite sect that claimed to have enjoyed the ownership of the land.
Although the board indicated that the appeal would be filed in the apex court within a month, a final call would be taken after the meeting of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) expected later this month. The Muslim law board’s legal committee will meet in the national capital on 9 October and a full meeting is expected on 16 October. The AIMPLB is likely to announce its strategy after the full meeting, which will be represented by all leading Muslim organizations.
Meanwhile, the Congress, after its deliberations at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Tuesday, welcomed any effort by the parties concerned over the litigation of the Ayodhya title deed to find “an amicable and peaceful settlement”. Senior BJP leader and leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, said that the time had come for an amicable settlement.
Senior party leader L.K. Advani has already stated that the judgement has given judicial recognition to the fact that millions in the country do believe that the makeshift temple is the birthplace of Lord Ram and that there should be an agreement between the Hindus and Muslims to build a temple.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM joined those who said the verdict was based on “faith and belief”. In a statement issued after its two-day politburo meeting, the party said: “It will set a dangerous precedent for the future. When the matter goes to the Supreme Court on appeal, it is to be hoped that this issue will be addressed.”
However, the politics over the issue does not seem to be ending.
Fine-tuning its stance on the Ayodhya ruling, the CWC, technically known as steering committee till the ongoing organization elections are over, said the 30 September ruling does not “condone the demolition of the Babri Masjid”. The demolition of the 16th century mosque by some Hindu activist groups on 6 December 1992 triggered some of the worst communal clashes in the country’s history since independence.
Course of action: Lawyers after last week’s judgement. The personal law board may announce its strategy after a meeting scheduled for 16 Oct. Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Terming it a “shameful and criminal act”, the apex decision-making body of the ruling party said the perpetrators must be brought to justice. “Any distortion of the verdict by communal forces is detrimental to the larger national interest and will cause harm to the nation’s mood and desire for peace and harmony,” the party said.
The BJP took strong exception to the ruling party’s attempts to link the verdict with the mosque demolition. “At this stage, it is a high court verdict which has come on a bunch of civil suits based on certain issues. And, to that extent, we respect what has come in the judgement,” said BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman. Pointing out that a criminal matter was under way on the demolition case, Sitharaman said: “I can’t see the point in linking that with the HC verdict, which has come on the civil suits.”
In Ayodhya, the Nirmohi Akhara said on Tuesday that it was ready to cooperate with another litigant in the title suit—Ramlala Viraajman—for construction of a temple. “For mutual consent and cooperation for construction of the temple, a senior member of Ram Janmbhoomi Nyas, Ram Vilas Vedanti, met me today and we had a detailed discussion over the issue,” the mahant of Nirmohi Akhara, Bhaskar Das, said.
PTI contributed to this story.