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'Muslims are taking a step within the legal process'

By SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF
December 03, 2019 14:52 IST

'We are aggrieved about the ruling and there is no other way of putting it across to the Supreme Court and entire society that wrong has been committed and which requires correction.'

IMAGE: Muslims in Ahmedabad offering prayers ahead of the Supreme Court verdict in the Ayodhya dispute. Photograph: ANI Photo.

Ever since the Supreme Court delivered its verdict on November 9 in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, in which it handed over the disputed site to the Hindu petitioners and allotted a five-acre plot to the Muslim side to build a mosque, speculation was intense that the Muslim side would file a review petition against the court ruling.

With the key litigant All India Sunni Wakf Board ruling out filing an appeal, all eyes were on what the other parties would do. 

On Monday, December 2, the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind filed a review plea in the Supreme Court in which it pointed out several errors in the November 9 judgment and sought a stay on it. The All India Muslim Personal Board announced that it too would file its review plea before December 9, the deadline to do so.

"Most Muslims want a review petition to be filed in the Babri Masjid case," M R Shamshad, one of the lawyers for the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, tells Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.

 

Why have Muslim parties gone in for a review of the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya?

There are serious infirmities in the order and judgment. Those infirmities are required to be pointed out to the Supreme Court and a review is the method to point this out. Therefore, we have filed this review petition.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad says the Muslim parties are in denial and delay mode since the verdict didn't go their way.

There is a 30-day period of limitation for filing a review petition. So there is no question of any delay on our part.

Before the Supreme Court judgment all Muslim parties had said they would accept the ruling, whatever it may be. So why are they now going in for a review petition?

Review is a process which the Constitution of India recognises. And finality does not mean that one will not exercise their power to review the jurisdiction of the court.

This is in no way to say that the Muslim community is not abiding by the Supreme Court. The Muslim community is taking a step within the legal process available to them.

It was believed that the Muslims of India have widely accepted the judgment.

This is incorrect. Most of the Muslim parties want to file a review petition. These Muslim parties have always contested this matter and taken a decision as to what should be the next step.

All these parties are again coming to the Supreme Court, so such opinions are irrelevant.

Secondly, these are a few dominant voices (among the Muslims) who have access to the media, they are shouting and the media is propagating them.

The fact is that most Muslims want a review petition to be filed in the Babri Masjid case. And those who are parties in this matter, they have taken up this matter for filing of a review petition.

Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi says if a review petition is filed, communal harmony in the country will be disturbed.

I go by the statement of Dr Rajeev Dhavan, that if you see the entire history of the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid issue, Muslims have never created any communal disharmony.

So making such allegations against the Muslim community is thoroughly incorrect and Minister Naqvi should correct himself.

The same Rajeev Dhavan has been dropped as counsel to one of the litigants in the Babri Masjid case, isn't it?

That is only one of the litigants, the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind.

All the seven Muslim parties who were before the court minus the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind are with Dr Dhavan and will request him to remain in the matter.

You mentioned in your review petition the three desecrations of the Babri Masjid in 1934, 1949 and in 1992 as acts of illegality by Hindus. Why are you highlighting this part?

Why not?

If your religious places have been desecrated and demolished by violating the rule of law, and the Supreme Court had earlier called the act as a national shame, against that background if the title of the mosque has been taken away from one party and given to another party who has done all these things (desecrations), we are well within our rights to make such a statement. And we have rightly made this statement.

I believe Muslim parties have pointed out 14 errors in the Supreme Court's Ayodhya verdict.

It is much more than that, not just 14 errors in the judgment.

You also state in your review petition that if the Babri Masjid was not demolished, then the judgement would have been different.

Obviously, because the Babri Masjid was illegally demolished and the Supreme Court itself agreed that the Babri Masjid was illegally demolished. Now the people who supported this demolition of the Babri Masjid got the title.

We are aggrieved about it. There is no other way of putting it across to the Supreme Court and entire society that wrong has been committed and which requires correction.

When the judgment took so many years to come, don't you think a ruling on your review petition will also take equally long?

That is not in the hands of the Muslim community.

When the issue of justice and delivery of justice is concerned, maintenance of the rule of law is concerned, if the rule of law is being violated, then justice is deprived.

What about Iqbal Ansari, son of the original litigant Hashim Ansari? Does he also feel that justice has been denied?

I don't know, he is backtracking. He is not filing a review petition and that is his decision. We respect his decision.

SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF / Rediff.com
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