THE RE­TURN TO AY­O­D­HYA

India Today - - INSIDE - By Kaushik Deka

The build­ing of a Ram tem­ple on the dis­puted site of the Babri Masjid, torn down by kar­se­vaks in 1992, will be a cru­cial part of the nar­ra­tive of next year’s gen­eral elec­tion. This is clear from the re­ac­tion to the Supreme Court’s de­ci­sion to post­pone hear­ings to the ti­tle suit till Jan­uary. A bench headed by Ran­jan Go­goi, the Chief Jus­tice of In­dia, took barely five min­utes last week to turn down a re­quest from the Ut­tar Pradesh gov­ern­ment, led by Chief Min­is­ter Yogi Adityanath, to ex­pe­dite the hear­ings into the long-fes­ter­ing case.

As many as 11 pe­ti­tions will be heard chal­leng­ing the 2010 Al­la­habad High Court verdict, which tri­fur­cated the site, as­sign­ing equal parts to the Ram Lalla, Nir­mohi Akhara and UP Sunni Cen­tral Waqf board. List­ing the mat­ter for the first week of Jan­uary, when a fresh bench will have to be con­sti­tuted to sched­ule pro­ceed­ings, CJI Go­goi of­fered a terse re­minder that the court has its “own pri­or­i­ties. Whether the mat­ter will be heard in Jan­uary, Fe­bru­ary or March, the ap­pro­pri­ate bench will de­cide”. He had made these pri­or­i­ties clear on the day he took oath as Chief Jus­tice, re­fus­ing to ex­pe­dite a case out of turn with­out it be­ing, for in­stance, a mat­ter of life and death. There are good rea­sons for such a stand—with nearly 55,000 cases pend­ing be­fore the apex court, it would take more than two years to clear the back­log even if the court stopped hear­ing new pe­ti­tions.

But for the pro­po­nents of Hin­dutva, the Ay­o­d­hya dis­pute is akin to life and death. Both the RSS and BJP lead­ers were quick to voice their dis­may. “Ev­ery five years,” for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter P. Chi­dambaram said, “the

THE RUL­ING Hindu seers at the ‘Dhar­madesh’ meet or­gan­ised in New Delhi, Nov. 3

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