A dignified sense of calm and quietness prevailing across the country following Supreme Court’s historic verdict on Ayodhya, allowing construction of Ram temple at the disputed site, is a testimony to the people’s maturity and their abiding faith in the supremacy of judiciary and core democratic values. India of 21st century reflects a new sense of optimism by shedding the bitter baggage of the past and a yearning to preserve the core strength of unity in diversity and move on with a dream for a better future. It is also heartening that various religious, social and political organisations made repeated appeals to stay calm and maintain communal harmony and peace ahead of the landmark judgment in the most bitterly fought case in the country’s legal history over an issue that was a mix of title dispute, faith, sentiments and contested history. With the Apex court delivering a nuanced and balanced verdict, allowing Hindus to build the temple and ordering allotment of an alternate five-acre land in Ayodhya for construction of a Mosque, the fractious dispute that had triggered communal riots in the past gets a closure. Controlled jubilation and graceful acceptance marked the public response to a ruling that was, fortunately, not seen through the binary of victory or loss but as a triumph of objective judicial process. By assuring that the verdict will not be seen as a matter of celebration, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several senior BJP leaders have sought to send a reconciliation signal to Muslim community while Uttar Pradesh Sunni Wakf Board ruled out going for a review.
The unanimous decision of the five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, to hand over the disputed 2.77 acres to the deity, Ram Lalla, stemmed largely from the archaeological evidence of pre-existing, 12th century non-Islamic structures before Babri Masjid came up at the site. By doing so, the court said it was attempting to “remedy a wrong committed (in the past)”. Only a fair and impartial judicial process can address such a historical grievance that shaped the faith and socio-political beliefs of Hindus for generations. The fact that an unambiguous verdict has been delivered by the highest court of the land through a rigorous judicial process and careful examination of facts provides legitimacy to the outcome which otherwise would have been difficult through legislation or mediation process. At the same time, the court rightly termed as egregious violation of the rule of law the demolition of the Babri Masjid and observed that the placing of idols below the central dome of the Masjid was an act of desecration. And, those involved in the destruction of the Mosque must be held accountable as per the law.