Vande Mataram

Friday, October 8, 2010

Faith, Belief and Legality

One of  the prime criticisms of the Ram Janma Bhoomi verdict was the basis for the conclusion of the birth place of Lord Ram. The court has decreed that the centuries old belief of the people of India and during the later centuries of the Hindus has to be accepted and upheld. By abstract legal terms, the conclusion of the Ram Janma Bhoomi was not asked for,  so the court has over stepped. But yet to justify the decision on the title suit, the court has to go into details so that the judgment could stand on firm legal grounds, supported by reason.

The argument that any claim based on faith or belief could not become legal unless concrete, solid facts are presented, is legally untenable. Many facts based on faith and belief without solid proofs are accepted by the courts with full legality. When someone is called for as a witness or as a plaintiff/defendant, his/her father's name is asked for. That is a fact everyone in this world believes purely based on faith, and asking for a solid proof of that fact would attract angry response and reaction from the person concerned and also from the bench. Such a query may be considered as insulting, unless the matter under the court's inquiry is that.

Faith is the confident belief or trust in the truth or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. It is confidence or trust in a person or thing, belief that is not based on proof, belief in god or in the doctrines or teachings of religion, belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc., a system of religious belief (Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc), the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc., the observance of the obligation, fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.

So, criticizing faith and belief based judgments would question the very existence of humans in the world. We're trusting a certificate given by Government authorities, as we believe that would help us in identifying ourselves. No one questions the identification given by the Government because of the belief in the established system, though we have regular complaints about how the system is violated and failed.

If we keep asking for solid proof for everything in the world, we could not even say the direction the Sun rises is East as we don't have solid proof for that. Ancestors said so, we believe so. Do we have a certificate from any authority that Sun rises only in the East? Then why trust it? As it is a rotating object, what is the proof that it regularly rises in the East and sets in the West?

Well, a legal point now to ponder for a while.

When the issue reaches the Supreme Court, legal eagles opine, the 1940 verdict in Lahore Gurdwara case would play a key role in deciding Ayodhya dispute. The gurdwara case was decided based on the doctrine of adverse possession, which says a rightful owner of a property can lose his title over the property if another person occupies it for a particular period without being challenged. But that too could not be applied to the Ram Janma Bhoomi case as the facts of the two cases differ a lot.

The gurdwara was built in the 18th century after razing to ground a mosque. Decades later, the Muslims sought possession of the land on which their mosque once stood, by filing a suit. After getting verdict against their claim in various tribunals, they went to the Lahore High Court. Lahore High Court also, by a majority decision, dismissed their claim over the land. The Privy Council, then apex judicial body of British legal system, finally put its seal on the rights of the Sikhs to have the gurdwara on that land, upholding the decisions based onthe doctrine of adverse possession. 

A blind following of the Privy council's decision would not suit the Janma Bhoomi case, as the historic facts those form the basis of the claim of the Hindu people for the Ram Janma Bhoomi and the claim of the Muslims on the Lahore Gurdwara have vast differences. The said mosque was dazed down during the 1800s and a Gurdwara was built on that. There was a legal system established by the British for contentious issues to be redressed. They would not be averse to hearing both the sides before pronouncing judgments, as long as the case was not about any anti-imperial activity. Even in anti-imperial activity related cases, the arguments of the defendants would be heard and recorded but would not be accepted on the grounds of antiestablishmentarianism.

But when Ram Mandir was demolished to build an Islamic looking structure (legally concluded that the structure was not built as per the Sharia regulations for a mosque) or as by Justice Khan's dictum there were ruins of a temple where the disputed structure was built, or as per the twisted and tainted version of the judgment by Burkha Dutt of NDTV  that the Islamic looking structure was constructed upon some temple, general temple but not Ram temple, there was no established legal system to try the demolishing or building on ruins complaints, since the Hindus were under aggression and their very way of life was thrashed, culture flagellated, religion asphyxiated, whereas the Sharia Law of those invaders would term blasphemy any complaint against building of that Islamic looking structure. This was the situation during the medieval in Hindustan aka India i.e Bharath.

If taken in this undistorted historic context of no proper authority to try the case and deliver justice at the time of the crime, the time limitation cited by the Privy Council would not fit into the fabric of this case. So, the argument that no faith on a faith based judgment is imbecilic and the argument of untimeliness citing the Privy Council verdict is illogical.

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