Requiem for the Rule of Law

The courts must publicly acknowledge that the Babri Masjid was torn apart in broad daylight while the executive and judiciary watched, and that those behind the demolition went on to be elected as the rulers of the country.

The faith of Muslims “in the judicial system must be restored.” This is what Justice Liberhan had to say on the eve of the Supreme Court’s final hearings in the Ayodhya title suit case.

This is a challenge before the judiciary. And the executive as well. Knowing well that the voice of Muslims does not count anymore in this secular nation, it is essential that there are non-Muslims like Justice Liberhan to talk about their concerns. And nothing like a retired judge to remind the judiciary of the largest religious minority’s expectations from the institution.

It may be said loftily that justice is done not to satisfy a community, it is done to uphold certain principles. But history says something else. Let us not talk about it at this stage. Let us not recall the embarrassment of the Supreme Court when a chief minister openly flouted his own undertaking before the court to protect the Babri Masjid. Its might was demonstrated by keeping the man in the custody of the court for a day. That was it.

Or, the naivety of the court when it allowed the request of a symbolic karseva at the spot which was almost the Babri Masjid, accepting at face value an undertaking that the Masjid would not be harmed.

Or, the complicity of the officers who, despite the aggressive swelling of the number of karsevaks, kept telling the court that all was well. Or, the conceit of the man who is still the darling of the liberals who told the karsevaks in coded language to prepare for karseva and then took a train to Delhi so as to be safely away from the site. In due course of time, he became our Prime Minister.

They waited and waited. The first dome fell and they waited. The second fell, they waited and then the third went down. There was nothing left to wait for. All organs of the state had either failed the Muslims or deceived them.

It is this crime which needs to be accounted for. Its responsibility fixed. Most of the participants in the act are alive. Even when some of them are now holding constitutional positions, justice needs to be done.