Jamiat Ulema-E-Hind Files Review Plea Against Ayodhya Verdict
The five-member panel of the Jamiat Ulema-E-Hind recommended that the review plea should be filed in the case. 
The five-member panel of the Jamiat Ulema-E-Hind recommended that the review plea should be filed in the case. (Photo: The Quint)

Jamiat Ulema-E-Hind Files Review Plea Against Ayodhya Verdict

A petition seeking review of the Supreme Court's judgement on Ayodhya land dispute by which the entire 2.77 acre land was granted to deity Ram Lalla was filed in the apex court on Monday, 2 December.

Maulana Syed Ashhad Rashidi, legal heir of one of the original Muslim litigants in ‘Suit No. 4’, has filed the review plea saying that the judgment suffers from “errors apparent on record and warrants a review under Article 137 of the Constitution of India.”

The review petition said the apex court in an attempt to balance the reliefs between the parties, condoned illegalities of the Hindu parties and allotted alternate land measuring 5 acres to the Muslim parties, which was neither pleaded for nor prayed for by the Muslim parties.

Rashidi is the president of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind.

Also Read : In Protest Lies Closure: The 7-Day Story of Ayodhya Verdict Review

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In the petition, he said it must be noted that the review petitioner is not challenging the entire judgment.

There is no challenge to findings by the court that the Nirmohi Akhara’s suit is barred by limitation, or that the Ram Janmabhoomi has no juristic personality. It has also been expressly pointed out that the review petition does not contest the finding that the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1993 is “intrinsically related to the obligations of a secular state.”

However, it identifies 14 aspects of the judgment that indicate “apparent errors”.

Ruling Not Based on ‘Evidence and Logic’

Hours after the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind filed a review petition against the Supreme Court's Ayodhya verdict, the body’s chief Maulana Arshad Madani said the step was taken as the ruling was not based on "evidence and logic".

If SC upholds its Ayodhya decision, the Jamiat will abide by it, he told reporters, according to PTI.

"We have filed a review petition in court. The main contention in the case was that the mosque was built by destructing a temple.”

“The court said that there was no evidence that the mosque was built after destructing a temple, the title of Muslims, therefore, was proven, but the final verdict was the opposite. So we filed a review as the verdict is beyond understanding,” Madani said, according to PTI.

On 14 November, the working committee of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind had formed a five-member panel comprising legal experts and religious scholars to look into every aspect of the Supreme Court's 9 November verdict.

The panel, under the chairmanship of Jamiat chief Maulana Arshad Madani, had looked into the prospects of the review petition against the apex court verdict and recommended that the review plea should be filed in the case.

Decisions on Filing Review

The Supreme Court in its verdict had said the entire 2.77 acres of disputed land should be handed over to the deity Ram Lalla, who was one of the three litigants. The five-judge Constitution bench also directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board in Ayodhya to build a mosque.

However, not just the Jamiat, even the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has said a review petition will be filed before 9 December.

However, the Sunni Central Waqf Board has decided against filing a review plea. The Waqf board also said that it was yet to take a call on whether to accept a five-acre plot for a mosque.

Also Read : Ayodhya's Muslim community to mark Dec 6 as 'Day of Sorrow'

Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Sunday hit out at the AIMPLB and the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind for their decision to seek a review of the Ayodhya verdict. He said that they are trying to create an “atmosphere of division and confrontation” after the matter was laid to rest by the apex court.

He also said that for the Muslims, the important issue is not just “Babri (mosque) but barabri (equality)” in areas of education, economic and social upliftment.

What Does the Review Petition Argue

The Quint has accessed a copy of the review petition filed in the apex court. The 217-page filing identifies 14 broad problems with the judgment of the Supreme Court, which include:

  • The relief granted by the Supreme Court “virtually amounts to a mandamus to destroy the Babri Masjid”.
  • The court granted the site to the Hindus despite finding that the actions of Hindus in 1934, 1949 and 1992 relating to the Babri Masjid (which they had held to be a mosque) were illegal – violating the legal principle that no person can derive benefit from an illegality.
  • The judgment elevates the actions of HIndu parties in the past of a “mere look at the central dome” to a claim of possessory title.
  • The rule of presumption of facts relating to common course of human conduct in Section 114 of the Evidence Act was disregarded by the court in its finding that even though they acknowledged the Babri Masjid had been standing from 1528 onwards and that namaaz had taken place there, there was no evidence to prove possession by the Muslim parties from 1528-1856.
  • The court elevated prescriptive rights of the Hindu parties, settled as far back as 1886 (such as their right to pray at the Ram Chabutra, but not a right to build a temple) to possessory title.
  • Despite noting that travellers’ accounts and archaeological findings could not be conclusive in deciding a title dispute, the Supreme Court verdict ended up relying on these. The judgment also initially noted that only facts after annexation of Oudh in 1856 by the British could be relevant to decide a title dispute, but then went on to heavily rely on facts prior to this.
  • The court equated “wanton acts of destruction and trespass committed by the Hindu parties to acts of assertion of claim over the disputed site.”
  • Evidence provided by Hindu and Muslim parties was not appreciated evenly, giving precedence to witness testimonies of the Hindu parties over relevant documentary evidence of the Muslim parties, “which resulted in incorrect application of doctrine of preponderance of probabilities.”

Also Read : A Matter of Possession: Where the Ayodhya Verdict Was Won and Lost

On this basis, the petitioner asks for the court to review these aspects of the judgment and pass any orders it deems fit and proper in the facts and circumstances of the case.

In the interim, the Jamiat has also asked for a stay on the 9 November judgment of the Supreme Court as “grave injustice will be caused” if the operation of the apex court’s judgment – including the setting up of a Trust that can work towards the building of a Ram Temple – were not stayed, and the status quo not maintained.

The application for stay also includes a specific request for a direction restraining the Central Government from taking any steps pursuant to the judgment.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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