New Delhi, Sept 30: The longest-running legal battle in India is a dispute over the 60 ft by 40 ft land in Ayodhya where the Babri Masjid stood till December 6, 1992. Since 1950, five title suits have been in the Allahabad High Court, staking claim to the title of the plot of land of the Babri Masjid. Of these, four are to be decided by the Lucknow bench of the high court.
I feel that leaders of all communities, political parties and social groups should start planning to meet the situation because the matter requires the involvement of people at the grassroots level and it does not brook any delay.
The high court verdict will not necessarily settle the issue. Either side could go to the Supreme Court. It is only the first step in the judicial process. Even otherwise, matters of faith are not legally determined.
We have heard in loud voices words like lawful, constitutional and democratic. Analysts agree that the idiom and the paradigm used by either section of the leadership in the late ’80s and early ’90s to spread their victimhood can no longer serve them. The issue is no longer as inflammable for the youth, from all sections, who say preventing fresh unrest is more important.
Aspirations and hopes of the new generation have changed dramatically from the ’90s to 2010. The youth of today are concerned more with bread-and-butter issues than rabble-rousing rhetoric. In these circumstances, the broad-based hope for a mature reaction to the Babri verdict is expedited.
We live in and by the law. In taking rights seriously we offer arguments against legal positivism that judges characteristically feel an obligation to give what we call “gravitational force” to past decisions, and that this felt obligation contradicts the positivists’ doctrine of judicial discretion. We insisted that in most cases of hatred there are right answers to be hunted by reason and imagination.
From the Koran: Verses 12: And when it is said to them: Create not disorder on the earth, they say:
We are only promoters of peace. Verses 13: Beware! It is surely they who create disorder, but they do not perceive it. Hence, the sacred Koran believes in universal peace and there is no space for violence.
Law exists as a plain fact. In other words, the law in no way depends on what it should be. Why then do lawyers and judges sometimes appear to be having a theoretical disagreement about the law? Because when they appear to be disagreeing in the theoretical way about what the law is, they are really disagreeing about what it should be. Their disagreement is really over issues of morality and fidelity, not law.
In this way, the empire of the law is defined by attitude, not territory or power or process. Law’s attitude is constructive: it aims, in the interpretive spirit, to lay principle over practice to show the best route to a better future. It is a fraternal attitude, an expression of how we are united in community though divided in project, interest, and conviction. Finally, it is a reflection of the kind of people we want to be and the community we aim to have.
Our society has been characterised by the quest for this inner truth, for a better future and of the triumph of the community over the individual.
Despite being the ruler of a huge kingdom, Ravana couldn’t rule over his inner world. As opposed to him, in the beginning, Rama couldn’t become the king of even a small province like Ayodhya; but he was able to rule over his inner self. Unravelling the different phases of dharma, voluntarily retreating into the forest in order to obey his father’s word, subduing the demons in order to protect the sages, killing Vali and Ravana — all these constitute the triumph of dharma. This is what the Ramayana is about; it is a chronicle of the triumph of dharma. In an individual-centred age, scores of ideals come into being and disappear after some time without leaving any trace behind. But the Ramayana is characterised not by individualistic qualities but the ones of a community, of a whole culture.
Rama, Buddha, Gandhi and such others do not belong to any race, religion or region; they are eternal symbols of those principles that guide us in the evolutionary path. We approach the concept of law as follows: where there is law, human conduct is made in some sense non-optional or obligatory. Thus, the idea of obligation is at the core of a rule. The reason is one has an obligation only by virtue of rule.
Professor G.L. Williams pointed it out very clearly: “The word ‘law’ stimulates in us the attitude of obedience to authoritative rules that we have come through our upbringing to associate with the ideas of municipal law. Change the word for some other and the magic evaporated. Accordingly these writers felt obliged to embark upon the unprofitable discussion as to the proper meaning of the term ‘law’. Where laws do not rule, there is no constitution.”
An early — and famous — formulation of the dictates of Natural Law was offered by Cicero. True law is right reason in agreement with Nature, it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting, it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrong-doing by its prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws in different places, countries or different men.
Lord Donaldson stated: “The efficacy and maintenance of the rule of law, which is the foundation of any parliamentary democracy, has at least two pre-requisites. First, people must understand that it is in their interests, as well as in that of the community as a whole, that they should live their lives in accordance with rules and all the rules. Second, they must know what those rules are.”
Absence of clarity is destructive of the rule of law and is unfair to those who wish to preserve the rule of law. It encourages those who wish to undermine it. The Majesty of the Law beacons us to the righteous path of Indian minds.
My six-year-old grandson, Kabir Adkoli, sent me an e-mail depicting a children’s park in the middle with sand pits, seesaw, ladder, etc, and a mosque and temple on both sides. It was a response to the present conflict. This is a message of peace from the young mind. This is the mind of the nation which binds us together.
Courtesy: Veerappa Moily, Union law minister : indian Epress