Retired Supreme Court judge Asok Kumar Ganguly on Saturday raised questions about the Supreme Court's verdict on the politically-sensitive Ayodhya title suit and said he was disturbed by the judgment.
The ruling by a five-judge constitution bench of the top court on Saturday held unanimously that a Ram temple would be built at the 2.77-acre piece of land in Ayodhya and ordered the government to give Muslims an alternative five-acre plot in a prominent place in the ancient city in Uttar Pradesh.
"I am a little disturbed by the judgment. When the Constitution came we saw a mosque and in the previous judgment of the Supreme Court relating to the demolition it has been recorded that there was a 500-year-old shrine which has been demolished," Ganguly said while speaking to HT.
"When the Constitution came, the law became different. We recognised the fundamental right to freedom of religion; practice, preach and profess religion. If I have that fundamental right I also have the right to protect the shrines. The day the structure was demolished that right was also demolished," he said.
Ganguly, who has written the book Landmark Judgements that Changed India, asked what evidence did the judges based their judgement to say that the land belonged to Ram Lalla.
"You have said that there was a structure under the mosque but you have not said that the structure was that of a temple. There is no evidence that after the demolition of a temple, a mosque has been built. On the basis of what archaeological insight can court decide that after 500 years?" said Ganguly, who is also a former chairperson of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission.
The Supreme Court, he pointed out, has accepted that if namaz is offered in a place then it has to be considered a mosque.
"So considering it a mosque, which has been standing there for 500 years, how do you decide the title after 500 years? On what basis can you do it? Those who have come here (in court) to depose have documents. On the basis of archaeological report you cannot decide titles," said Ganguly.
"And today what will people think? That in 1992 this mosque was demolished, now it is 2019, and in 2022 they challenge the Supreme Court? What happens to constitutional morality? That is something I felt a little disturbed about," said Ganguly who retired in 2012.
The bench, in the main verdict that political parties hoped would end the decades-old dispute, largely relied on evidence that established "consistent pattern of worship by the Hindus in the outer courtyard." There was no documentary material to indicate either "settled possession or use of the outer courtyard by the Muslims."
The judgment, however, has not given possession of the 1,500 square yard piece of land that has been in dispute for decades to Ram Lalla.
The top court ruled instead that this land will continue to remain in the statutory receiver under the Centre till the government comes up with a scheme to set up a trust and a formal order is issued.