We know by now that the CBI special court’s judgment last week acquitting all the 32 persons accused of demolishing the Babri Masjid in 1992 concluded that the mosque was demolished by “anti-social/anti-national elements” and that not only was there “no evidence” that BJP/VHP/RSS leaders including Lal Krishna Advani were part of any conspiracy but that the accused were actually trying to prevent these anti-socials from committing their criminal act.
These conclusions were widely reported and need not detain us here.
However, buried within judge S.K. Yadav’s 2300 page judgment are several gems of judicial wisdom that deserve a wider airing.
1. Lal Krishna Advani could not have been party to the crime as ‘he had expressed sorrow over the demolition of the mosque and the record shows that none of the other accused had criticised him for this. (विवादित ढांचा गिरा दिये जाने के बाद सह अभियुक्त लालकृष्ण आडवाणी द्वारा इस पर दुख भी प्रकट किया गया था जिसकी आलोचना किसी अभियुक्त द्वारा नहीं की गई, इस बात की साक्ष्य पत्रावली पर मौजूद है.) In other words, since none of the accused disagreed with Advani, all of them were party to his sorrow, which in any case is meaningless in legal terms.
2. Since the then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Kalyan Singh, had given a commitment to the Supreme Court that the status quo in Ayodhya would be maintained, he could not have been part of a conspiracy. Moreover there was no proof that he had done anything in the premises to hurt the religious sentiments of the other community and so on…
(अभियुक्त कल्याण सिंह द्वारा किसी व्यक्ति की धार्मिक भावना को चोट पहुँचाने या किसी उपासना स्थल को या व्यक्तियों के किसी वर्ग द्वारा पवित्र मानी गई किसी वस्तु को नष्ट, नुकसानग्रस्त या अपवित्र करने के आशय से कोई अपमान किये जाने का कोई साक्ष्य पत्रावली पर नहीं है जिससे यह साबित हो सके कि अभियुक्त द्वारा किसी वर्ग की धार्मिक भावनाओं को आहात किया गया या पूजा स्थल को अपमानित किया गया तथा देश की एकता व अखंडता को कोई चोट पहुँचाई गई.)
3. Nobody can be blamed for not controlling the crowd as it was huge and trying to disperse it could have led to a casualty in large numbers. Moreover the forces could not reach the spot of the ‘crime’ as the roads were blocked by women kar sevikas.
(महिला कारसेवकों के सड़क पर लेट जाने के कारण सी.आर.पी.एफ. मौके पर नहीं पहुँच सकी और सरकार के निर्देशानुसार फायरिंग भी नहीं की जा सकी थी क्योंकि एईसी स्थिति में काफी संख्या में लोग हताहत हो जाते जिसमें निर्दोष भी मारे जाते. फायरिंग न किये जाने का कारण भी पी.डब्लू.62 द्वारा बताया गया है. इसी प्रकार अन्य अभियोजन साक्षीगण द्वारा भी मौके पर सुरक्षा व्यवस्था पर्याप्त बताया गया है. सुरक्षा व्यवस्था के संबंध में अधिकारियों के बयान ही महत्त्वपूर्ण हैं न कि किसी पत्रकार या किसी अन्य व्यक्ति द्वारा यह कहना कि मौके पर सुरक्षा पर्याप्त नहीं थी क्योंकि सुरक्षा व्यवस्था गर्भ गृह की गई थी.)
4. It is not for journalists to tell us whether the security measures were adequate or not, only the police officers can do that.. (मीडिया के लोग यह नहीं बता सकते कि मौके पर सुरक्षा पर्याप्त थी या नहीं, बल्कि पुलिस और प्रशासनिक अधिकारी बता सकते हैं.)
5. The administration and police had so many things to do other than taking care of the security of the ‘structure’.
6. Nothing was done in the disputed premises which could have hurt the religious sentiments of the other community or which could have in any manner adversely affected the unity and integrity of the nation. Muslims of Ayodhya were not perturbed by the ‘kar seva’, there was no sense of excitement (or fear) in them. They were indifferent to it. Since it is on record that a Hindu woman saved a Muslim man, one can safely conclude that there was perfect communal amity in Ayodhya.
(…विवादित परिसर में कोई ऐसा कार्य नहीं किया गया जिससे दूसरे संप्रदाय की धार्मिक भावना को ठेस पहुँची हो अथवा किसी प्रकार से राष्ट्र की एकता व अखंडता प्रभावित हुई हो, बल्कि पत्रावली पर जो साक्ष्य है उससे यह स्पष्ट है कि घटना के दिन मो. हाशिम को एक हिन्दू महिला ने बचाया था, जिसकी पुष्टि पी.डब्लू.-77 ने की है. एल.आई.यू. रिपोर्ट से यह भी स्पष्ट है कि कारसेवा को लेकर मुस्लिम समाज में कोई उत्तेजना नहीं, बल्कि उदासीनता ही थी, जिससे यह स्पष्ट है कि अयोध्या में हिन्दू-मुस्लिम में आपस में सौहार्द कायम रहा है.)
7. The BJP leaders were only against those who wanted to be like Babar and Aurangzeb and not against Muslims. (भाजपा के नेताओं द्वारा कहा गया कि उनका मुसलमानों से कोई विरोध नहीं है. विरोध उनसे है जो बाबर व औरंगजेब बनेंगे.)
8. There was an attempt by some miscreants (Muslims) to create communal tension by wilfully damaging graves while the kar sevaks were full of enthusiasm for kar seva. (यह स्पष्ट होता है कि दिनांक 6.12.92 को होने वाली कारसेवा हेतु कारसेवकों में जोश व उत्तेजना थी तो दूसरी तरफ मुस्लिम संप्रदाय के कुछ लोगों द्वारा जान बूझकर कब्रों को नुकसान पहुँचा कर सांप्रदायिकता को हवा दी गई, जैसा कि प्रदर्श क-151 से स्पष्ट है.)
9. Since there was a mandate from the highest court that status quo should be maintained there, no one would have wanted to go against the Supreme Court as it is held in reverence and obeyed by all. (माननीय उच्चतम न्यायालय के आदेश की अवहेलना कोई नहीं करना चाहेगा क्योंकि माननीय उच्चतम न्यायालय का आदेश सभी के लिए आदरणीय व बाध्यकारी है.)
10. No one had anticipated that the ‘structure’ would be harmed and demolished In any case there is no evidence of namaz in the disputed premises. (वैसे भी विवदित ढांचे में नमाज अदा करने का कोई साक्ष्य भी नहीं है.)
These ten points are all crucial ‘findings’ of the special CBI court in Lucknow which was assigned the task of looking into the conspiracy behind the demolition of the Babri mosque.
The demolition of the Babri Masjid was an “egregious violation of the rule of law”, if we believe the Supreme Court. “Earlier, in April 2017″, as the Indian Express editorial reminded us, the Supreme Court had reversed the judgments of the lower courts to revive the conspiracy charges against LK Advani and others, while clubbing the cases so that the demolition and the speeches made by leaders could be seen as part of the same action.”
The newspaper is disappointed that, “Now, at the end of a tortuous legal process that has stretched over nearly three decades, the court holds no one accountable or punishable, as it shifts the entire blame to the faceless kar sevak…”
There are demands from newspapers, legal luminaries and others that the Central Bureau of Investigation, and the government need to appeal the order of the special CBI court. Is there any reason to have hope there? If the preceding years and judgments are any indication, the answer is no.
Meanwhile, it should be a matter of disquiet for the judge to know that just after his verdict absolving all the accused of the charge of conspiracy, at least two of the 32 accused – Gajanand Das and Jai Bhagwan Goel – boasted on camera that they had indeed conspired to bring about the demolition and were proud to say so as it was the mosque’s demolition in 1992 which cleared the way for the Ram temple to finally be built. What should we believe? That the two men are loudmouths and that there is no proof to establish that they had plotted the demolition? Or that the court erred in acquitting them and the others?
Leaving that aside, there are also questions the BJP and RSS supporters need to ask their leaders. Do they believe that the demolition was a crime? Do they agree that those who demolished the mosque were anti-social, anti-national elements?
In any case, if the demolition was a criminal act and those who demolished the mosque were anti-socials, what is there to celebrate in the judgments of the Supreme Court and the Lucknow court? Are we applauding crime and criminals?
The Lucknow court’s order could not have come without the nudge that the judgment of the Supreme Court gave by granting the land of the Babri Mosque to litigants who were organically linked to those accused of the demolition. The government promptly made two of the prime accused – Nritya Gopal Das and Champat Rai – head and secretary of the trust to oversee the new temple. Even before that was the judgment of the Supreme Court which declared Hindutva (and not Hinduism) to be a way of life. It validated the stand of the RSS, BJP and others that what they were doing was not petty politics but sublime duty.
The CBI court has only followed the precedent set by these superior courts. One must remember that it was a court’s decision which led to the unlocking of the mosque. Gradually courts paved the way for the demolition of the mosque by allowing ‘kar seva’ around the mosque knowing full well that the goal of the those wanting kar seva was to replace the mosque with a temple. , appropriation of its land to build a temple and now making the crime look crimeless, an act of God.
A time will come and it must if India has to revive itself as a decent society, when the complicity of the judiciary in the gradual decimation of secularism and disenfranchisement of the Muslims would be written. The courts had immunity from the executive but they decided to turn majoritarian.