Ayodhya: Article 25

Shocked by the verdict of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court, Siddharth Varadarajan of The Hindu wrote, “Collectives in India have faith in all sorts of things but “faith” cannot become the arbiter of what is right and wrong in law.” Romila Thapar, writing in the same newspaper wrote that the verdict was based on Hindu faith and belief and that the verdict had set a legal precedent “by declaring it to be the birthplace of a divine or semi-divine being worshipped by a group that defines itself as a community.”
It turns out that Hindu belief is protected by  the constitution.

Justice Agarwal, in his over 5,000-page judgment, said: “We are of the view that once such belief gets concentrated to a particular point, and in totality of the facts, we also find no reason otherwise, it partakes the nature of an essential part of religion, particularly when it relates to a matter which is of peculiar significance to a religion. It, therefore, stands on a different footing. Such an essential part of religion is constitutionally protected under Article 25.”[“Hindus’ belief about Lord Rama’s birthplace protected under Article 25”]


The court said: “Various religious literature, which have been placed before us, show that Ayodhya is believed to be the place of birth of Lord Rama. It did not specify any particular area or a particular place in Ayodhya. It is quite possible that the entire city may be held to be very pious and sacred on account of some occurrence of divinity or religious spirituality. It may happen that a small place may attain such a status. For example, the tree under which Gautam Buddha attained divine knowledge is considered to be extremely sacred and pious place by Buddhists. In a country like ours, where unity in diversity is its characteristic, the existence of people or other faith, existence of their place of religion at a place, in wider sense as its known, cannot be ruled out and by necessity they will have to exist, live and survive together.”[“Hindus’ belief about Lord Rama’s birthplace protected under Article 25”]

If only Siddhath Varadarajan and Romila Thapar read The Hindu.

13 thoughts on “Ayodhya: Article 25

  1. Using Article 25 to determine where Ram was born is beyond absurdity. The article guarantees freedom of religion not the freedom to use religious belief in determining “facts”. For example, a Christian cannot argue that evolution should not be part of the CBSE curriculum because it contravenes the right of his children to ?to profess, practise and propagate religion?
    Of course, such judgments are shaped by forces much beyond than mere constitutionalism or rule of law?if, for example, I were to argue that that my god was born where Justice Agarwal?s house is and deserves to be handed over for a temple to be built since ?it partakes the nature of an essential part of religion?, that request would be politely (or maybe not so politely) turned down. But such is the nature of majoritarianism, I guess?some are a bit more equal than others. Once you?ve got them screaming mobs, all other factors do tend to pale a bit.
    Not that the judiciary hasn?t come up with such gems before this?it is na

  2. “for example, I were to argue that that my god was born where Justice Agarwal?s house is and deserves to be handed over for a temple to be built since ?it partakes the nature of an essential part of religion?”
    It would be obvious that you were lying.

  3. Froginthewell (an apt nick if there ever was one): why is my faith a lie and somebody else’s the basis for “justice”? But never mind, I sorta know the answer to that: I have no crazed mobs. 🙁
    Mods: First my faith is denied, then my post is truncated. Too much I tell you.

  4. Hades : Froginthewell (an apt nick if there ever was one):
    I think a cheap personal attack like this one is a better indicator of immaturity and stunted intellect.
    why is my faith a lie and somebody else’s the basis for “justice”?
    There does not exist a system of axioms starting from which one can follow something along the lines of second order logic and decide on court cases. Judges even in the most developed countries routinely, in religious as well as non-religious cases use common sense to decide on whether someone is lying through his/her teeth etc. For instance in defamation suits, there aren’t always clear criteria to see if the alleged defamation actually caused material harm to the petitioner, and if so what a monetary estimate for the same would be.
    I find myself forced to use one of my most hated cliches – life is not black and white, get used to it 🙂

  5. And, in the interest of clearing any possible cognitive dissonance, it is not your faith that I claimed would be a lie, it is your claim that you subscribe to such and such belief that I said would be trivially and correctly identified to be a lie.

  6. Kedar, that’s less dishonest reasoning than Article 25, I’ll give you that. Of course, whether other ‘swadesi’ faiths, say the Sikh faith, will be able to do what has been done is doubtful, hence the use of the phrase ‘less dishonest’. Not to mention whether the Swadesi-ness of Hinduism will be of any use on the banks of the river from which the faith takes its name!
    Swadesi and all that is fine, but till there are no screaming mobs, there’s very little that’s going to be achieved. And I fear for my country when rule of law can be subverted by crazed mobs.

  7. “Swadesi and all that is fine, but till there are no screaming mobs, there’s very little that’s going to be achieved. And I fear for my country when rule of law can be subverted by crazed mobs.”
    Looks like the only screaming mob consists of the secular media personalities who are frothing at their mouths and seem highly disappointed that an orgy of blood-bath didn’t follow the court decision, and all involved parties seem OK with it. And the secular media personalities have been doing their best to provoke and needle people since the court decision was announced. So, there you have it – the rule of law being subverted by crazed mob sitting in posh TV studios, with microphone in their hands and in front of the camera.

  8. First up, so far as i can tell (and admittedly i havent read the entire judgment), the decision regarding hindu faith in birth of Ram in ayodhya had nothing to do with the final adjudication. The final 3 way split was based entirely on the title claims of the relevant parties. So all this bullshit about faith becoming basis of law is just a red herring to distract from the substance of the judgment. The judgment was based on the fact that only the nirmohi akhara had any meaningful title to the land they claimed as theirs, based on their continuous and active possession of that land over the last many decades. Of the other two parties, mahasabha and waqf, the mahasabha had a adverse possession claims based on possession since 1949. Based on strict reading of law, they automatically become title holders after such a long period. But the court still gave 1/3rd to the waqf, based on the fact that they had in fact maintained possession for a long time prior to 1949. This was eventually a civil suit, so the objective of the judges was to make parties whole — relief in equity — which is what got the waqf 1/3rd of the land. So the final decision that everyone is complaining about, was adjudicated purely on the basis of the title holdings of the concerned parties.
    Second, the judges were in fact required to decide whether hindus believed in ayodhya as place of birth of Ram.. as part of of one of the many claims and counter claims made by the parties. And their decision that it was in fact so believed, was purely a judgment on that specific claim, and had no bearing on the final settlement.
    Third, as far as courts having the jurisdiction to decide on matters of faith is concerned, i think people who are screaming about it, just dont understand the substance of the case. If the court is asked to decide on such a matter, with very clear determination of what does and doesn’t qualify as faith, they are completely within their rights to make such a judgment. And as for the stupid arguments by many (including Hades) above, the faith of hindus in ayodhya as birthplace of Ram is not a random whimsical protestation. Its based on 4000 yrs of practice, culture, theology, folklore, literature, custom (and archaeology) and more. Its not a manufactured claim.

  9. Hades, Mate, look around you… Except a few, most of the politicians are on your side, the entire media is on your side, the “historians” are on your side, and probably the supreme court as well.
    This seems to be a temporary phase. It will pass…
    There is no need to whine so much my friend. Cheer up!

  10. gbz : I would understand your point that the judgment had nothing to do with faith, if the issue was just dividing that main property. But that the portion of the property containing the Ram Lalla installation went to Hindus – are you saying that that did not have anything to do with faith, and that it was based solely on the “adverse possession claims” of the Hindu Mahasabha?
    As for Hades : it does not matter to Hades that his own reasoning is most dishonest. The very kind of common sense considerations that are the basis of purely secular judgments, he wants to deny to judgments on religious matters.

  11. Ayodhya: A true Secular Verdict!
    To day is Mahatma Gandhi Jayanthi. Peace around us. It is great. Kudos to pragmatic verdict. Kudos to True Secularism.
    When I condemn Secularism, it would mean Pseudo secularism but not true secularism.
    A day after the much awaited Ayodhya verdict was delivered; peace prevailed on the Nation, for many reasons despite the provocative head line of Times of India and commendable head line in The Deccan Chronicle.
    ? 2/3 for Hindus-1/3 for Muslims? beamed TOI
    ?Judges divide land to unite India? beamed the DC
    In this country crime is not forbidden provided the perpetrators of that crime belong to a clan known as ?Secularist?. The Times of India masthead on Ayodhya verdict , was highly provocative and divisive in nature. The Editor Shri Dileep Padgoankar is regarded as a cerebral behind the media and hence he is impeccable. On the front of Electronic media, the scenario is still nastiest. Among the media celebrities panic was writ large on their faces, and hurt and anger in their heart beats that can be clearly seen and heard.
    The reason: The verdict did not come in their way. Two-third to Hindus and one-third to Muslims. This caused the heart burn for the fake intellectuals. This amplification by the media is highly mischievous and proves the fact beyond doubt that they are not earnest in their propaganda.
    It was the same media before the Judgment, repeatedly insisting parties to respect the verdict, emphasizing the Judgment would be the law of the Nation. Now they turned the tables when they looked the disputed land in length and breadth in area, but not in spirit of National Integration.
    I hail this verdict for one sole reason. The Religious sentiments of Hindus were esteemed by the Judges discounting the fears of ?secularism?. This has cooled the nation for once and the pride of Hindus was definitely upheld.
    The pride is not associated with Babri Masjid, for that matter even the ?Ram Janma Bhoomi? sentiment
    The pride that I am referring is the regard of Hindu?s beliefs and values that was upheld by the Hon?ble Judges.
    A perceptible shift can be noticed in the Ayodhya Judgment. To be candid, I feared a sting of unpleasant remarks on the beliefs associated with Lord Ram and his birth place from the Hon?ble Judges, as our past experience shows in affirmity. On the matter of MF Hussain in the Delhi High Court, Ram Sethu issue in the Supreme Court, we Hindus were at receiving end, for nothing fault of us.
    In the case of Ram Sethu matter the petitioners and their Attorneys faced embarrassing questions from the Bench whether the petitioner ever visited the Ram Sethu and worshipped there and the like.
    In the matter of MF Hussain derogatory paintings case, the Hon?ble Delhi High Court dismissed the petition and held that the paintings are highly artistic, no impropriety can be attributable and it is all the IGNORANCE of the gullible Hindus.
    Before concluding, I assert the following:.
    The demolition of Babri Masjid was condemnable, and to prevent recurrence of such incidents in future a stringent legislation be enacted to protect all such Historical Structures as ?protected monuments, as 15th August 1947 be the cut-off date for Democracy and values of our Constitution.
    Similarly the Union Government enact another legislation banning any kind of conversion as such religious conversions are barbaric, and medieval in origin under the perception of the same cut off date.
    Secondly efforts be made by all the parties (Excluding the Congress Party and personalities like Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi) to convene a meeting for re-conciliation and to reach a compromise for a peaceful and acceptable solution before the parties approach the Supreme Court.
    Illness is not cured by saying the word “medicine,” but by taking medicine ?Adi Shanakara
    Krishna Baalu/02-09-2010

  12. @froginthewell: essentially yes. Assume that the Ram Lalla idols were placed at a different location in the complex and the location below the (erstwhile) central dome had forever been under possession of the waqf. Would the court judgment have required the waqf to clear that location and move somewhere else?
    with respect to the 3 way split formula, it really does nothing but maintain status quo. except create an opening for the muslims to also acquire an area within the same complex which they dont currently have.
    The problem with the secularist approach to this issue was that they rather surprisingly (or maybe not, given their success with godhra) believed they could rewrite and completely alter the truth and replace it with their cooked up version, which in turn misled the muslim leadership into believing that anything was possible, including the kicking out of the mahasabha from RJB complex and complete reinstatement of the waqf’s ownership. In a more normal country, such expectations would have been laughable (given the obvious weakness of their case), but then again, since 2004, their perceptions have changed.

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