Acquittal of all the accused in Babri Masjid demolition by the CBI Court on September 30, 2020, though anticipated after the Supreme Court verdict handing over place where Babri Masjid stood to a Trust for Temple construction, marks a new low in the administration of law and justice in India under the RSS-BJP rule. It shows how the judicial processes have been permeated by majoritarian outlook resulting in subversion of all principles of jurisprudence and natural justice.
Holding that there was no conspiracy in demolition even when there was a concerted campaign by RSS and its affiliates for demolition of Masjid really stretches judicial logic too far. Obviously nothing can ever be proved beyond all doubts, hence, the term “beyond reasonable doubt” but the Court in the instant case has discarded all evidence which should have been enough to persuade any reasonable person to reach conclusion of existence of conspiracy but was found to be insufficient by the Court concerned. There has been evidence galore to prove this point but appreciation of evidence by the Court has been contrary to the established principles of law. The whole exercise of painting the demolition carried out under the care and supervision of leaders of RSS and its affiliates as spontaneous and unplanned is violence against common sense and also against judicial sense. This judgement also flies in the face of the findings of Justice Liberhan Commission that the demolition was meticulously planned. Justice Liberhan had held and named a number of leaders of RSS, BJP and RSS affiliated organizations and bureaucrats for their role in the demolition of Babri Masjid. Many of the accused acquitted by the Court were in that list.
This judgement obviously goes against the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Masjid issue in which demolition of Masjid was held as illegal. But the whole tenor of that judgement was catering to the majoritarian outlook and the present judgement carries that further. Probably judiciary wishes to moderate administration of Hindu Rashtra in divided doses for the benefit of its acceptance.
The basic quality of law, even when it is draconian or most unjust/undemocratic is its uniformity. Though it is often violated in practice in face of class and social factors influencing the judicial process but it is at least upheld in theory. But the judicial pronouncements have violated this basic feature i.e. it has lifted the veil from over the eyes of Lady of Justice. Now judgements are pronounced which suit the powers that be i.e. which are in their favour. Consider the incarceration of a large number of people as an accused of non-existent conspiracies! Incarceration of over a dozen democratic intellectuals under Elgaar Parishad case and ever expanding arrests under case of conspiracy behind Northeast Delhi violence and refusal of bail tell that different yardsticks are being applied for appreciation of evidence in every case. Despite a number of videos showing damage of public property by the police and damaging CCTV cameras by them, judicial silence was profound, not spurred into action either suo moto or on being approached.
This judgement along with host of recent judgements should make people, particularly intellectuals, rethink whether higher judiciary can be relied upon to defend people’s freedoms given under Constitution and laws? It will be pertinent to revisit the role of higher judiciary in Germany under Weimar Republic in the advent of Hitler and his Nazis to power there. India shares some aspects like Constitution guaranteeing some rights along with continuation of old laws and continuation of the judiciary from earlier period to secure these rights. Obviously Weimar Republic had lasted for about a decade and a half only, but longevity alone may not be any guarantee.
This judgement adds to the challenge posed before the people of country by the assault on people’s rights under rule of fascist forces. It only underlines the need for a united and vigorous movement against this fascist rule. While the judgement should be appealed against, the real task is to mobilize the people.
October 1, 2020