Top court verdict on Ayodhya offers a rare glimpse of political consensus

In a unanimous verdict on Saturday, the five-judge SC bench cleared the way for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, and directed the Centre to allot a 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque.
Supreme Court delivered one of the most crucial judgments in the history of India’s judiciary on Saturday on Ayodhya.(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
Supreme Court delivered one of the most crucial judgments in the history of India’s judiciary on Saturday on Ayodhya.(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Nov 11, 2019 07:52 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

After political parties of different shades calibrated their positions after the Supreme Court delivered one of the most crucial judgments in the history of India’s judiciary on Saturday, there was a broad-based, unscripted consensus in welcoming the judgment and acceptance of reality.

Such similarity in political stands, lawmakers underlined, was a rare sight especially in the recent times, but it has often been on display when dealing with a larger national issue.

Congress’ Lok Sabha leader Adhir Chowdhury said the general rule of Indian polity was that “we don’t go beyond a certain social and political limit”.

“It is true that there was a commonality in the voice of the political parties, barring a few, on Saturday, that is because responsible political parties have always tried to treat national issues in a different way. In Indian democratic structure we have always held that the Supreme Court’s decision is the law of the land.”

Senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi maintained that intrinsic Indian political sentiments had been “both argumentative and convergent and consensual”. “No doubt the intrinsic Indian sentiments is to be both argumentative and convergent and consensual. There is no necessary contradiction in this. Despite the undoubted existence of perpetual naysayers, there has historically been large areas of national consensus even without a court order and much more so with a court order. Foreign policy, the approach to Pakistan and China, now Ayodhya judgment or genuine issues of national security.”

In a unanimous verdict on Saturday, the five-judge SC bench cleared the way for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, and directed the Centre to allot a 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque.

The verdict was hailed by a majority of the political parties, including the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Samajwadi Party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Telugu Desam Party, who also appealed for caution and spoke about mutual respect between communities.

A few, however, disagreed. Among those who expressed dissatisfaction was secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board Zafaryab Jilani, the counsel for the Sunni Waqf Board, one of the parties in the title dispute case. “We are dissatisfied with certain findings of the Supreme Court... We respect the Supreme Court verdict and respectfully disagree with certain aspects… We will file a review petition if our committee agrees,” he said.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi, too, expressed his displeasure, saying that the “Supreme Court is supreme but not infallible”.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist), along with other Left parties, took a nuanced stand. While they reiterated that court verdict was the best way to solve the problem in the absence of negotiations, they also pointed out to some “questionable” parts of the judgment.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee opted to remain silent on the judgment.

Senior Biju Janata Dal leader Bhartruhari Mahtab described the reaction of the political parties as a “natural sentiment”.

“Respect to the law has been the backbone to the Indian democracy. Supreme Court’s decision has given justice to all and that is the reason why unanimity in praising the judgment across political lines. There is a natural sentiment and a broad national consensus in the political spectrum, when there is call of nation building,” he said.

“The case has ended but the politics over Lord Ram is not going to end in the near future...”

Achirangshu Acharya, an economist at the Viswa Bharati University, said: “It was an issue that had been pending for almost 26 years and as an amicable solution has been reached, the political parties chose to hail it rather than creating any new controversy. Also, in the present political and social scenario of India, one has to tread cautiously on such issues which involve deep religious sentiments.”

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Thursday, May 19, 2022