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OPINION | Ayodhya Verdict Must Be Seen Dispassionately From The Prism of Law, Constitutionalism

It is unworthy to attribute political motives to the decision made by the Supreme Court on Ayodhya. The court has momentously done its best, writes professor of law, Upendra Baxi

OPINION | Ayodhya Verdict Must Be Seen Dispassionately From The Prism of Law, Constitutionalism
Photograph by Suresh K. Pandey
OPINION | Ayodhya Verdict Must Be Seen Dispassionately From The Prism of Law, Constitutionalism
outlookindia.com
2019-11-15T16:59:17+05:30

The Ayodhya judgment authored by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S.A. Bobde, Dr Dhananjay Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer has been a subject matter of many pointed analyses. It comes at a time when, globally, the constitutional authoritarianism of ‘charismatic’ radical conservatives places under deep stress all democratic institutions; and political polarisation and hyperpartisanship tend to render any dissent and doubt as subversive of national unity and integration, while it is defended by activists as politics for restoration of liberal democratic values. It is not a matter of surprise then that a reasoned discussion of public matters should be made so difficult, on all sides, just when it becomes imperative. The Supreme Court, in this instance, has come under intense criticism as failing the very people from whom it draws the legitimacy of its powers of judicial review.

The judgment ends by saying that “(one) of us, while being in agreement with the above reasons and directions, has recorded separate reasons” on “whether the disputed structure is the birth-place of Lord Ram according to the faith and belief of the Hindu devotees”, and that the “reasons of the learned judge are set out in an add­endum”. This is a most unusual procedure, and unconstitutional, as Indians have a right not to be governed by anonymous judicial decisions. The 116-page unsigned addendum has to be set aside in forming any opinion concerning what precedes it: the full judgment of 929 pages. It is also sad, as some critics have rightly remarked, that the judgment errs in talking about “Hindus” and “Muslims” because these remain deeply heterogeneous social and religious categories.

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