Ayodhya Explained: Supreme Court Chose Faith Over Law, Jurist Faizan Mustafa Says

Nikhila Henry

In the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, the Supreme Court seems to have weighed religious beliefs of a section over the rule-of-law, observed Faizan Mustafa, a senior law professor and jurist of constitutional law.

Speaking to HuffPost India shortly after the judgment was pronounced, Mustafa, who is also the Vice Chancellor of Nalsar University of Law-Hyderabad, said, “It can be said that the ruling in favour of Ram Lalla was passed on the basis of an inconclusive ASI report”. The court indulged in “reparation” when it ruled to allot five acres of land to the Muslim parties, which is almost double the size of the original disputed land, Mustafa observed. 

However, “The judgment upholds a majoritarian point of view”, Mustafa said.   

How do you evaluate the judgment? On what was the judgment based?  

Based on the operative parts of the judgment, it looks like the Supreme Court gave importance to belief over other concerns. The court, even while observing that faith is limited to individual believer and that it cannot determine a land dispute, eventually gave the disputed land for the construction of a Hindu temple. This means that belief of a section of people was given prominence over the rule of law even though the latter should have ideally determined a property dispute.   

The judgment is fair in terms of religious freedom. When a party asserts freedom of religion, the court cannot enter into the debate on whether faith is rational or irrational, justified or unjustified. However, when it comes to the property dispute, the court seems to have weighed religious belief over the rule of law.  The court while pronouncing the judgment did try its best to strike a balance between law and faith. But clearly faith has the last laugh here.  

The court seems to have weighed religious belief over the rule of law.

Are you saying what was essentially a property dispute got settled on the basis of faith or belief? 

It seems like faith was given...

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