Showing posts with label Rule of Law. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rule of Law. Show all posts

INTRODUCTION:

Are there laws for stalking in India? Stalking is an act that is often dismissed as a harmless and innocent act, but it is an alarming and harrowing situation for the victim. It is the victim who ultimately has to bear the brunt, move to a different place, change jobs, and sometimes even their identity to evade the stalker. 

In 2018, 9,438 cases of stalking – one every 55 minutes, on average – were reported in India, as per the National Crime Records Bureau report released in January[1], which is almost double the number of cases as reported in 2014. The number of stalking cases reported has been increasing – 6,266 in 2015, 7,190 in 2016 and 8,145 in 2017. The crime rate has increased from 0.8 in 2014 to 1.5 in 2018. Though more cases of stalking and sexual harassment are being reported, it is likely they are being under-reported. Also, most accused keep harassing the victim even more to withdraw their complaint filed against them. 

Stalking is much more widespread than most people think, particularly the social justice experts. This underlines the fact that stalking is an important policy issue for the criminal justice system, for organizations offering care to victims of abuse, and for activists dealing with violence against women. 

WHAT IS STALKING ?

Stalking is habitually associated with harassment and torment by a person who fanatically pursues someone. There are various psychological reasons behind stalking like severe narcissism, hatred, rage, retribution, envy, obsession, psychiatric dysfunction, power and control, sadomasochistic fantasies, sexual deviance, internet addiction or religious fanaticism. Stalking sometimes leads to other criminal offences like theft, abduction, house-breaking, extortion, trespass, acid attack etc. 

STALKING LAWS IN INDIA:

Stalking has become very common in today’s world, that makes people wonder if there are laws for something as common as this. The reason why such an act is claimed to be common is that it is happening at every corner of the world every minute. The number of cases of stalking are increasing day by day which at the same times makes it more dangerous. 

There are some laws regarding stalking and abusing women through such acts in India under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. They are:

1. Section. 354 D – Stalking [2]: “(1) Any man who— i. follows a woman and contacts, or attempts to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman; or monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication commits the offence of stalking;..” 
The section was added by Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013 post Delhi gang-rape case. This section takes into account both, the physical stalking and cyber stalking. A man is said to have committed stalking if he follows a woman and contacts or attempts to do so to foster personal interactions after she clearly and repeatedly indicates her displeasure.[3] The section clearly mentions that if anyone tries to monitor the activities of a woman on internet, it will amount to stalking. Thus, if the stalker indulges in any of the activities defined in the section, he shall be guilty of the offence under this provision. 
2. Section 509 of IPC, relates to the modesty of women, reads as follows: “Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman.—Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished...” 
The essential ingredients to be proven under this section are: 
  • any gesture or through words or sound or exhibits an object
  • intention for it to be heard or seen sent by e-mails, messages or posted on social media.
Such an act if done, a person shall be guilty under Sec.509 and shall be punished with 3 years of imprisonment and fine. 

Some drawbacks under these sections are as: 
  • the section only considers “women” to be the victim and ignores the fact that even men can be the victim
  • the legislators have not mentioned the “method of monitoring.” It might happen that the person might lack the intention but his actions amount to stalking.
  • Intention to insult a woman cannot be assumed from communications on the internet.
3. Section 292 of IPC defines “obscenity”. The offence of cyberstalking takes within its purview the act of sending obscene materials to the victim on a social networking site or through emails or messages etc. Where the stalker attempts to deprave the other person by sending any obscene material on internet with the intention that the other person would read, see or hear the content of such material then he shall be guilty of the offense under Section 292 of Indian Penal Code. 

4. Section 507 of IPC relates to “criminal intimidation by anonymous communication.” This section states that where the stalker tries to hide his identity so that the victim remains unaware of the source from where the threat comes, it amounts to an offence. Thus, it ensures the very characteristic of cyberstalking i.e., anonymous identity is blocked. The stalker shall be guilty under this section if he attempts to conceal his/her identity. 

5. Section 67 of Information Technology Act[4] : This section relates to publishing obscene material in “electronic form”. If a person tries to publish any obscene material about the victim on social media i.e., in electronic form so as to bully the victim, he shall be punished with an imprisonment extending up to three years and fine for the first conviction and up to five years and fine for the second conviction. 

6. Section 67A[5] has developed a special category of material called ‘sexually explicit act.’ Publishing, distributing or allowing any information to be distributed is punishable by imprisonment for the first conviction up to five years and a sentence of up to seven years and a fine for the second conviction. 

WHAT ARE THE DEFECTS IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM WITH RESPECT TO STALKING LAWS?

There is a major drawback when it comes to enforcing such laws. One of the reasons for omitting these cases is a lack of understanding of the law by the police officers. Lack of understanding of the law can also be blamed on movies and TV shows for normalizing and romanticizing stalking. These play an important role, as they affect the psyche of a person and makes them think that it is a normal act of showing love. This toxic culture now pervades our society and inevitably affects our perception of the offence itself. 

A sad reality is that sometimes victims are asked to ignore such cases while registering a case. The crime is normalised & trivialized by such statements and the seriousness of this crime is not seen. Victims are told to ignore it instead of taking strict action against the accused, they are blamed and commented upon and even complaints are not registered. 

SUGGESTIONS: 

Some measures that can be taken in this regard are 

1. The trial must be time bound and the trial must be done quick in order to ensure that the victim is not harmed further. Also, it may lead to an increased conviction rate if the accused is left free to roam. 

2. The offence should be made non-bailable for first-time offenders too. This measure must be put in place as cases of stalking can turn into more severe/ heinous offences when the offender roams free. When it comes to stalking, the psyche, intention and mental state of the accused has to be taken note to make sure such offences are not repeated. 

3. Complaints made possible through an online or telephonic medium. The government should create a national helpline number for reporting such crimes. It should also be backed by a quick response team of police officials in each city for providing immediate help in cases of emergency so as to help prevent such crimes. 

4. Lack of an exclusive machinery to deal with stalking cases, has been argued as the primary reason for paucity of impact of the present laws. 

5. The laws should be made neutrally for both men and women. 

Additionally, there is fear instilled in the victim’s mind about registering a complaint with the law enforcement authorities due to lack of sensitisation and empathy shown towards the victim. 

CONCLUSION:

Stalking laws are relatively young laws which are still unknown to the majority. It is of utmost importance that people must be educated about such laws so that it helps them deal with and tackle such situations. It helps them while dealing with such an issue. There has to an end against such crimes against people, especially women and its seriousness has to be acknowledged if we are to create a rule of the law society. A stalked victim is not only mentally harassed, but also physically harassed, teased and a woman may also be outraged with her modesty. Although IPC provides for a provision for Stalking, it does not clarify anything regarding cyberstalking. The laws must also be amended to keep up with the evolving terms. After all, the well-being of a law depends upon the use of it by the people. 


This article is authored by R.Sumedha.

REFERENCES : 

1. https://scroll.in/article/952903/in-2018-india-reported-a-stalking-case-every-55-minutes-the-actual-number-may-be-even-higher

2. Section 354D – Stalking : Indian Penal Code, 1860, No.45, Acts of Parliament, 1860.

3. P.S.A. Pillai’s Criminal Law, 14th Edition, LexisNexis, Chapter 37, pg. 797.

4. Information Technology Act, 2000, No. 21, Act of Parliament, 2000.

5. Section 67A- Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form.: Information Technology Act, 2000, No. 21, Act of Parliament, 2000.

Image Credits

 What is Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA)?

Introduction 

When too much power is vested in the hands of the government, there is a possibility of misuse of such power. A democracy functions efficiently only when the people of the country keep the government in check. When laws are made which take away such power from the people, they also take away the very essence of democracy. A democracy only stands true to its meaning when the government is of the people, by the people and for the people. 

When we think of the Emergency in India, one of the most prominent recollections we have is, of hundreds of people being jailed and being tagged as anti-national under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA). They were considered a threat to national security. However, these people were only criticizers of the government. It has been 43 years since the Emergency was lifted. Governments of different parties and different combinations have come to power. Unfortunately we have a very similar law which has been amended and passed in Parliament in 2019- The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Tracing the Genesis of the Act

In the year 1967, the Congress led government enacted the UAPA which allowed the government to put so-called reasonable restrictions on the right to association and gave the government the right to deem any organisation unlawful on the basis of their activities. It was supposed to have been enacted in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India. The UAPA was always viewed as a draconian law as it allows arbitrary restrictions on Fundamental Rights of citizens, which according to the government are reasonable restrictions

In 2019, the NDA led government amended the UAPA which allows the Central Government to declare any individual or person as “terrorists”. 

Inherent Flaws in the Amended Act

The government said that this Act would help in reducing terrorist activities across the country. The Act also does not define the word “terrorist activities” which allows room for interpretation. This is where the problem actually lies. 

The law gives unrestricted power in the hands of the government under the garb of national security which instead of protecting the citizens, targets them for even carrying out democratic activities. It is being used to criminalize any movement or protest which is against the narrative of the ruling party and can be used to target dissenting citizens. The centre has the power to interpret the words to its own convenience and punish citizens. Since it is an ill-defined law, loopholes can be found and can be used to the centre’s advantage. An individual can be called a “terrorist” by the Government of India without adequate evidence. This will harm the reputation of a person in society. A tag of “anti-national” and a “terrorist” will always linger on them.

The UAPA also violates the Fundamental Right to Fair Trial and the presumption of innocence which are the backbones of the legal system in India. Every individual is innocent until proven guilty. This makes it next to impossible for the accused to secure bail as he is required to prove his innocence even before the beginning of the trial. The burden of proof lies entirely on the person who has been arrested as the Act provides no provision for him to challenge the government’s claim before they publish it in the Gazette. Such sweeping powers in the hands of the centre can prove to be troublesome. The act weakens the federal structure of governance in India and gives too much power to the centre. 

While it is essential to ensure stricter laws in order to combat terrorism, it is the duty of the Legislature to ensure that laws that are enacted are not in direct contravention with the Fundamental Rights of the citizens. The UAPA interferes with the right to life and personal liberty (Article 21) as guaranteed by the Constitution. It takes away the right to freedom of speech and expression (Article 19). At an international level, the amendment violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The International Covenant on Civil Liberties and Political Rights.

A recent incident when the UAPA has been used rampantly was during the anti CAA-NRC protests. Student leader, Umar Khalid and Jamia Islamia students, Safoora Zargar and Meeran Haider were detained for allegedly being involved in the Delhi Riots. Prominent persons such as Anand Teltumbde and Gowhar Geelani have also been arrested under the UAPA. The act does not treat Indian citizens as citizens of a democracy. The question, therefore, is that, are these arrests even constitutional if they are in violation of the Fundamental rights of citizens. (Safoora Zargar has been given bail on Humanitarian Grounds as she is pregnant)

While national security and the protection of citizens are of great importance, the Legislature must ensure that the Civil Liberties of citizens are not being suppressed. Unfettered power in the hands of the Centre is worrying and can infringe upon the rights of citizens. While the government has time and again reaffirmed that the amendment will reduce terrorism and keep it in check, it gives the government absolute power to punish anyone without sufficient evidence. It is necessary that the government is answerable to its citizens and that transparency is maintained in the system in order to ensure that democracy is in check.

This article is authored by Aradhana Pillai
 

Image Credits: Jagran Josh


-Reema


INTRODUCTION

He killed a person brutally. He was brought to the Court. The Court sentenced him to death and consequently he was hanged to his death. Is justice sought? We are basically killing the killer to show that killing is wrong. This is nothing different from creating a war to achieve peace! Of course, a dead person can not commit any future crimes. However, the purpose of criminal punishment is not only the prevention of new crimes by convicts and other persons. Criminal liability is aimed at correcting the offender and contributing towards the restoration of social justice. Criminal liability, as well as justice in general, should not be an act of avenging the victim. It is impossible for a killed man to understand his actions and repent.

INDIAN JUDICIARY ON DEATH PENALTY:

The Supreme Court of India as the highest Appellate authority of India has given its authoritative decisions on various points of law. Likewise, the apex court has also examined the constitutional validity, procedure and many other issues related to the imposition of capital punishment.

In Attorney General of India v. Lachma Devi(1985), it has been held that the execution of death sentence by public hanging is barbaric and violative of Art. 21 of the Constitution. It is true that the crime of which the accused have been found to be guilty is barbaric, but a barbaric crime need not necessarily have to be visited with a barbaric penalty such as public hanging.

In the case of Rajendra Prasad v. State of U.P.,(1979), Krishna Iyer, J., held that capital punishment would not be justified unless it was shown that the criminal was dangerous to the society. He held that giving discretion to the Judge to make choice between death sentence and life imprisonment on ''special reason" under Section 354 (3) of Cr.P.C., would therefore be violative of Art.14 which condemns arbitrariness.

In contrary to the judgement of the above cases, the courts in majority of the cases held the view that imposition of death penalty is not opposed to the supreme law of the land.

In Jagmohan Singh v. Uttar Pradesh(1973) , the validity of death sentence was challenged for the first time on the ground that it was violative of Art.19 and 21 because it did not provide any procedure for depriving a person of his life. It was contended that the procedure prescribed under Criminal Procedure Code was confined only to the findings of guilt. However, the Supreme Court held that the choice of awarding death sentence is done in accordance with the procedure established by law. The Judge makes the choice between capital sentence or imprisonment of life on the basis of circumstances and facts and nature of crime brought on record during trial. Accordingly, the Court held that the capital punishment was not violative of Arts. 14, 19 and 21 and was therefore constitutionally valid.

In Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab(1980), the Supreme Court by 4:1 majority overruled Rajendra Prasad’s decision and held that the provision of death penalty under Section 302 of I.P.C. as an alternative punishment for murder is not violative of Art. 21. Art. 21 of the Constitution recognizes the right of the State to deprive a person of his life or personal liberty in accordance with fair, just and reasonable procedure established by valid law. The Court further held that the ‘public order’ contemplated by clauses (2) and (4) of Art. 19 is different from ‘law and order’ and also enunciated the principle of awarding death sentence only in the ‘rarest of rare’ cases.

In Deena v. Union of India(1983), the constitutional validity of Section 354 (5), Cr.P.C., was challenged on the ground that hanging by rope as prescribed by this section was barbarous, inhuman and degrading and, therefore, violative of Art. 21. The Court held that Section 354 (5) of the Cr.P.C., which prescribes hanging as mode of execution lays down fair, just and reasonable procedure within the meaning of Art. 21 and hence is constitutional.

 In Smt. Shashi Nayar v. Union of India and others(1991), the Supreme Court bench once again upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty. The Court did not go into the merits of the argument against constitutionality, arguing that the law and order situation in the country has worsened and now is therefore not an opportune time to abolish the death penalty.

 

 

However, death sentence cannot be imposed if the following two reasons are satisfied.

1.     When the judges hearing the case had not reached unanimity in the question of sentence or of guilt

2.     When the accused had previously been acquitted by a lower court.

IS THE DEATH PENALTY CONSTITUTIONALLY VALID?

Every legislative, executive as well as judicial decision should be constitutionally valid. That is, it should not be outside the scope of the constitution. However, the imposition of death penalty is violating the basic structure of the constitution by way of violating Art.14 and Art.21 of the Indian Constitution.

1. Violation of Article 14 of the Constitution

Article 14 of the constitution reads as follows:

The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.

According to the judgement given in Bachan Singh case, death penalty can be imposed only in rarest of rare cases. The aforementioned doctrine is clearly violative of Article 14, since it does not function under any established guidelines or framework. That is, there is no law enacted by the legislature which provides the conditions or essentials to be satisfied for the imposition of death penalty. Under this doctrine, a judge has the discretionary authority to apply the law of capital punishment at his/her own will. Thus the doctrine is in itself enabling the judicial authority to discriminate. Though it may be argued that the judges are trained to be unbiased, he/she is still prone to the whims of subjectivity, socialization, and human nature. Without a framework, a judge will impose death penalty according to his/her own belief system. And the decision based on one’s belief system may seem right to one person but may be wrong to the other person. Thus the arbitrariness in the imposition of death penalty clearly violates Art. 14 of the Constitution.

 

2. Violation of Article 21 of the Constitution

Article 21 of the constitution reads as follows:

“No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law”.

According to the principles propounded in the Maneka Gandhi case, the procedure for depriving someone of their life or liberty or both must be reasonable, fair and just. However it is clear that the Supreme Court has not prescribed any procedure to begin with. The decision to take someone’s life or liberty is based on personal discretion subject to biases and flaws in human nature. Since there are no established guidelines for judges to follow, the procedure cannot be deemed reasonable, fair or just. Since the procedure is neither fair nor reasonable the practice of depriving a person of his/her life cannot be justified. Thus Article 21 is clearly violated in the present case.

The common argument which most people will have for justifying the imposition of death penalty is that it serves as an effective deterrent against future crimes. That is, the criminals will hesitate to commit grievous crimes if the imposition of death penalty is in force. But, this is an argument which is based entirely in theory, and has no statistical or empirical data evidence backing it. There is no denying that there can always be a margin of error in a conviction, and an innocent could wrongly be sentenced to death, taking away his/her rights under Articles 14, 19 and 21 for no reason. With a Constitution which is so committed to protecting the rights and the dignity of the individuals, even the possibility of an error should be enough to disallow the passing of the death sentence. Capital punishment therefore doesn’t seem to serve any constitutional end.

CONCLUSION:

Thus the death penalty is in no way contributing towards the achievement of justice. The death penalty is treating criminals as non humans who should be eradicated from the society. The principle behind death penalty is ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. This is the principle which was followed for the administration of justice nearly a century ago! Death penalty is neither going to reform the criminal nor is going to bring the victim back to life. Therefore, it is only wise for a civilized society like India to abolish death penalty altogether and go for a reformative method of punishment.

Image Credits https://images.app.goo.gl/2Km8CuTM2to4LWGY8



 

- K.Keerthana


INTRODUCTION:

Plea bargaining or negotiated plea is a pre-trial negotiation between the defendant and prosecution in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for some kind of concession. Usually, the concession is in form of a lesser punishment than which is specified by law or for dropping few charges in case of multiple charges or for recommending to the judge a specific sentence that is agreed by the defendant. This concept of plea bargaining was introduced in our Indian Criminal Justice System (ICJS) in the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2005 under the recommendation of the 154th Law Commission. Sections 265 A to 265 L of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) provides a mechanism through which a criminal case can be settled without going for a trial.

The concept of Plea bargaining is not available to all criminal offences in India. It does not apply to heinous offences like murder or rape where the punishment is life imprisonment or the death sentence. Under our Indian legal system, the following offences come under the ambit of Plea Bargaining:
Offences for which punishment is less than seven years
Offences which do not affect the socio-economic condition of the country
Offences which are not against women or against a child below 14 years of age

However, the option of going for plea bargaining is not available to Juveniles or if the accused has been previously convicted for the same offence.

Thus, if A is accused of theft and voluntarily causing grievous hurt, he may agree to plead guilty if he is prosecuted only for theft.

TO TRIAL OR TO PLEA?

The most frequent question that arises in the minds of people regarding the concept of plea bargaining is - whether it is better to go to trial or to get a plea bargain. There is no definitive answer to this question as it differs from case to case. Under some circumstances, it is better to take a plea while in others it is more beneficial to go to trial. The decision of going to trial or getting a plea depends solely on the accused who has much more to consider than whether he is actually innocent or not.

However, even if the answer differs for every case, there are some ways in which the accused can come to a decision. Firstly, talking to a criminal lawyer will give great insight into the matter. Even if the accused will have a rough idea of the criminal process with familiarity from the news or the internet, a criminal lawyer would have much more experience from dealing with many such cases. The lawyer would be able to brief the accused on the current criminal process, possible sentences or concessions, etc. The lawyer will also be able to analyze the pieces of evidence in the current case and determine the possibility of a guilty verdict.

The next important thing is to consider if the plea will actually be in the best interests of the accused and if the plea is actually a bargain for the benefit of the accused. These can be determined by analyzing the pros and cons of going to trial and getting a plea.

PROS AND CONS OF TAKING A PLEA BARGAIN:

First, we will discuss the pros and cons of taking a plea. Taking a plea bargain will resolve the case quickly. This will help in avoiding publicity and unwanted attention. Especially, since our country is infamous for dragging cases for around seven to ten years or even more, settling the cases quickly is a better option. Quick settling of cases will help save your time and money. Plea bargaining allows a person to plead guilty even without a lawyer. So taking a plea can save a lot of money which must be spent on a lawyer if you proceed to trial. Further, plea bargaining helps the accused get a lighter sentence than which is prescribed by law and also get concessions. Since the negotiation with the prosecutor is done before the trial, there is no uncertainty of the proceedings. Also, once the plea is approved by the judge, there can be no appeal to higher courts by the opposition. Thus, the person can be certain that the case is closed.

Like every coin has two sides, plea bargaining also has some disadvantages. In India, one cannot enter into a plea bargain without admitting guilt. Admission of guilt creates a criminal record and the person has to deal with the moral repercussions of conviction in the society. This includes the difficulty of getting job opportunities even after some years. Even innocent persons who take a plea in order to avoid a lengthy trial will have to continue their life with a criminal record. Further, even after taking a plea, a person cannot escape punishment. A plea bargain only allows some concessions or a lesser punishment. So the accused will have to serve minimum punishment or pay some amount of fine even in some of the most successful plea bargains. Another disadvantage of taking a plea is that a judge can reject the plea and impose a longer sentence if the judge is convinced that the plea is unfair. And once the judge rejects a plea, it is very difficult to prove that the accused is innocent.

When an accused enters into a plea bargain, he loses many of his rights:
Right to trial: The accused loses his right to be heard by a judge and to have a trial, which is implicit under Art 21 of the Constitution of India, as he voluntarily admits to being guilty of the crime.
Right to testify: By taking a plea, the accused loses his right to tell his version of the events that took place and get exonerated in case of his innocence.
Right to appeal: Once a plea is approved by the court, he loses the remedy of further appeals.

PROS AND CONS OF GOING TO TRIAL:

Going to trial has several advantages. Going to trial will give the defendants more time to prepare a better defense which aids in proving that the accused is innocent. In a trial, an accused is always innocent until he/she is proven guilty. The burden of proof is upon the prosecutor to find pieces of evidence against the accused and prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. The accused also has the option of going to appeal if he does not take a plea. Even if the trial is a lengthy process, going to trial and getting acquittal is the only way for an innocent to have justice. It is also the only way for a person to escape criminal responsibility and criminal records. Further, some plea bargains offer very little incentive to the accused. It mainly helps the prosecutor get the accused convicted and the victim to have better compensation.

However, going to trial is putting the life of the accused in the hands of the judge. This makes it very difficult for the accused to know the outcome of the trial. The prolonged and lengthy process of the trial will cause mental agony to the accused and the ultimate outcome also is very unpredictable. The major part of the outcome of the trial also depends upon the lawyer’s skill. The way the defense lawyer presents his arguments and proceeds with the case plays a very important role in deciding the fate of the accused. Further, if the accused is found guilty by the court then the accused will have to serve the maximum punishment or penalty for the offence committed. This can be avoided if the accused takes a plea.

CONCLUSION:

Many members of the Tablighi Jamaat belonging to different countries have obtained releases from various court cases by taking a plea bargain. Accused of violating visa conditions to attend a religious congregation in Delhi, many have closed their cases by admitting guilty to minor charges and paying fine. Thus, plea bargaining helps people to avoid time-consuming trials. However, in order to prove the innocence of the accused, going to trial is the better option. Even if the saying “Justice delayed is justice denied” is true, it is also true that an innocent person should not be found guilty. It is solely the right of the accused to choose whether to go to trial or to take a plea bargain. The decision should be taken considering the best interests of the accused.



REFERENCES:

· https://bit.ly/2PKuIxB

· https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/pleading-guilty-or-going-to-trial-pros-and-cons-36359

· https://bit.ly/30Qy2NQ

 - PANKAJ RAWAL[1]

Image Credit: The Economic Times

Supreme Court’s verdict on women’s inheritance rights on –11th August 2020: This will be marked as a historical change of course in the legal arena of Indian legal development.

VERDICT: On Tuesday, the Supreme Court settled its own confusion pertaining to the conflicting interpretations of the amended section of Hindu Succession Act, 1956 i.e., Section 6 (which is in force since September 9, 2005). The Apex Court made it very explicit that daughters have equal coparcenary rights in the ancestral property even if they were born before the 2005 amendment and regardless of the fact that whether their father was alive or not at the time when the law was amended in 2005. As the coparcenary is by birth, so it is not necessary that father coparcener should be living as on 9.9.2005.

Supreme Court held that ‘Hindu Succession Act 1956’ has a retrospective effect irrespective of the fact that she (daughter) was born and her father was alive or not at the time of such amendment i.e., 2005 amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.

MAIN ISSUE TO SETTLE – The principal issue which needs to be settled down was that the amendment that has been done to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 in the year 2005, granting equal coparcenary rights to the daughters to inherit the ancestral property would have a retrospective effect or not?

LAW OF 1956 – The Mitakshara School of Hindu Law which is codified as the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 governed both the succession and the inheritance of property. But it recognized only ‘males’ as legal heirs. So traditionally daughters were not considered as coparceners in accordance with section 6 of the law of 1956.

2005 AMENDMENT SCENARIO – In the year 2005, a crucial step was taken by amending section 6 of Hindu Succession Act, 1956. As before the 2005 amendment, only male heirs were to be considered as coparceners. But this amendment has essentially marked a historical change in the milieu of “gender justice”, as it provided equal inheritance rights to the daughters also in the ancestral property. So this has recognized “daughters” as coparceners by birth in the family in the same way as sons – “A son is a son until he gets wife but a daughter is a daughter throughout her life”.

POST 2005 AMENDMENT SITUATION – While the 2005 amendment granted equal rights and liabilities to women, many disputes were arisen pertaining to the nature of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005: whether this law is retrospective in nature or does it have a retrospective effect or not?. And also whether the rights of women are depended on the living status of their fathers at the time of amendment or not?  Different benches of the Supreme Court have given conflicting views upon this question in various cases. Relying on such conflicting views by considering them as ‘binding precedents’ many High Courts have also decided on some cases.

In the case of Prakash v. Phulavati (2015), the decision was given by a two-judge bench headed by Justice A K Goel, it was held that if the coparcener (father) is died prior to 9 September 2005 (it is the date on which the amendment has come into force), his daughter will have no inheritance right to be entitled in the coparcenary property. So the benefit of such amendment will only be given to “living daughters of living coparceners” on 9 September 2005.

Then again in the case of Danamma v. Amar (2018), a two-judge bench headed by Justice A K Sikri has held that the daughters, in this case, will get shares in the property as coparceners even if their father died in the year 2001.

As these conflicting perspectives were given by the benches of equal strength, that will lead to the reference to the larger bench in the current case i.e., a three-judge bench in the case of  Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma (2020).

GENDER JUSTICE: VINEETA SHARMA V. RAKESH SHARMA (2020) -  In the case of Vineeta Sharma, the Supreme Court has overruled its own decision in the case of Prakash v Phulavati (2015) and also partially upheld its own holding in the case of Danamma v. Amar (2018). The Apex Court’s verdict in this the case was marked as a “progressive step” as it cleared the ambiguities pertaining to the extent and nature of a daughter’s rights to inherit the ancestral property.

“The Hon'ble Supreme Court has taken a powerful step towards the “equality” as provided under article 14 of our Constitution,” It has clearly adjudicated on the issue of effective date of 2005 amendment, by saying that it is of no relevancy that what is the date of birth of the daughter or alternatively the date of the death of the father, whether it is prior to the amendment or post. As long as a daughter is alive post the amendment, she will be entitled to an equal right as a son in the coparcenary property.

And also Court clarified that “Coparcenery is a birthright (unobstructed heritage)”. So the same rights have to be conferred on the daughters also by birth in the same manner with the incidents of coparcenary as that of a son. And another point of re-opening of partition before 2005, can it be done or not? The Apex Court stated that a partition which has already been done before 2005 can’t be re-opened provided it was duly done in accordance with the law or it  has gone through the proper legal process as required by the law.

The Hon’ble Apex Court has also noticed that similar suits or appeals across the country were pending before different high courts and lower courts for a long time because they all were dealt with the same dilemma about nature and extent of a daughter’s rights to inherit an ancestral property vis-à-vis effective date of 2005 amendment.

As all those matters which were already been delayed because of the legal imbroglio which was due to the conflicting views of different benches of the Supreme Court. So this was directed and requested to these courts to adjudicate upon these matters and decide them within six months in consonance with the landmark judgment passed in the current case i.e., Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma (2020).

So in my opinion also “this judgment has not only promoted gender equality as guaranteed by our constitution in the form of a fundamental right, but also it has negated the oppressive approach of the society by breaking the deadlock of the dated patriarchal system”.



 [1] STUDENT OF HIMACHAL PRADESH NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, SHIMLA.

Image Credit: The Economic Times

                                                 -Manmeet Kaur

                     

The rule of law is considered as the essence of the democracy. The integrity and dignity of the rule of law must be reverend by both the citizens and the government, as in India, constitution is the Supreme law of the land. The preamble of the Constitution provides for “the government of people, by the people and for the people” and further it illustrates the constitutional orderliness, discipline and norms. Communal harmony and secularism are the essential ingredients of the Indian democracy and in case of any encroachment of the same; the remedies can be availed by the procedure established by law. In spite of the plethora of the protections provided to the citizens the incidents of mob lynching have been at zenith in the stipulated period of time. Mere, on the grounds of the suspicion the uncontrolled crowd takes law in their clutches and impart the so called “justice”.

But the question arises what is understood by the term ‘Mob Lynching’? The term has been derived for the Americo-Latin word, which means that one is given the punishment of death sentence without any proper trial or legal proceedings. According to the Oxford English dictionary “lynching refers to the act of killing/s done by a mob without any legal authority or process involved.” The major heinous crimes are committed by the mob like murder or rape. They assume themselves as the judges, jury and executioner which not only violate the legal frame work but as well shatters the faith of the masses in the judicial system.

In the case of Tehseen S. Poonawalla vs. Union of India and Others , the Supreme Court has suggested both the central and the state government to initiate preventive, remedial and penal measures in this regard. The guidelines were as well proposed in this regard, out of which main measures are illustrated below:

• Appointment of senior police official not below the rank of Superintendent of police as the Nodal officer assisted by the police officer in every district to ensure the prevention of the mob lynching incidents.

• The government should spread the awareness by the way of the various media platforms that it is a punishable offence in the court of law.

• The state government and the central government should take steps to eliminate the spread of the explosive images and videos on the social media platform along with the compensation policy in the stipulated period of 1 month from the incident as per the provisions of section 375A of the code of criminal procedure.

• If it is found that officials so appointed in this regard have failed to control the situation in hand than the appropriate and stringent legal action should be taken against the official and the act should be marked as the deliberate act of negligence on the part of the official.

Lynching: As a Reassertion of Dominant Class

The main reasons of the plight of the minorities are ignorance of the principle of secularism by the masses. The religious believes have blinded the masses that they fail to acknowledge the fact of harmonious co-existence. The main incidents of mob lynching are in the name of “cow Vigilance” “cattle smuggling” “cattle trading” “beef smuggling” etc. The majority of the incidents take place against the dalits and muslim community in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan etc. The economic strata of these communities in these states is miserable which is brought up about the prevailing system of economic relations , religious preconceived opinions which is not based on any reason or actual consequences and the social discriminatory laws which are traditional , conventional and legislative and have destroyed them morally , educationally and economically. In the case of Pahlu Khan in 2017 was killed by the so called “Go- rakshaks” in Rajasthan on the basis of the mere suspicion of animal smugglers and selling of the meat of cow (beef). The recent incidents of lynching were witnessed in the CAA protest of the protestors. The scenario is shattering and demands the regulation to safeguard the fundamental and human rights.

“Communal harmony is the hallmark of a democracy. No religion teaches hatred. If in the name of religion, people are killed, that is essentially a slur and blot on the society governed by the rule of law.” In the same case it was stated that such killings are not less than terrorism against the innocent people for no rhyme and reason. The responsibility is on the shoulders of the government and judiciary. The delay in justice system, absence of the specific beneficiary legislation, the unconcerned attitude of police officials, non-registration of the FIRs are the other factors liable for the plight of the minorities in the country.

Need of legislation: to curb the vigilante’s attack on rule of law and people

Punishing the culprit is the obligation of the state; this will help to uphold the principle of natural justice. The situation demands for the constant vigilance by the authorities’ responsible, security to witnesses, rehabilitation of victims, prevention of the repetition of incidents and many other associated factors. All though the situation can be dealt in the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal procedure and other existing statutes but there is the lacuna which works as the gate of escape for the offenders. The Sections of IPC which are likely to require adjustments for this are: 302 (murder) , 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (punishment for voluntary causing hurt), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of a common intention). This lacuna is in regard to the absence of the appropriate legislation as the definition of the various terms like “hostile environment” “mob” “lynching” “victim” and “witness” etc.. This will surely resort as aid for the officials and judiciary as they will be able to have a guide for the further advancement in the instant.

The demand is for the central legislations as the state governments have attempted to curb the situation but did not achieve much success. Example: The state governments of Rajasthan West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh have attempted to pass the law but the bill is still pending in the court of law. This needs urgent redress otherwise it may result in the deterioration of the principles enshrined in the constitution of India. The right to life under article 21 of constitution is the essence of it as it illustrates the right to live with dignity and not mere animal existence. Article 15 as well prohibits the discrimination on the various grounds; religion and caste are part of it. Thus, this leads to the preservation of the country to change to Lynchistan from Hindustan.


END NOTES AND REFERENCES:

  1.  (2018) 9 SCC 501
  2. National Human Rights Commission vs. State of Gujarat and others (2009) 6 SCC 342
  3. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1560742/ ( last seen at 10:25 on 8/12/2020)
  4. http://upslc.upsdc.gov.in/MediaGallery/7thReport.pdf ( last seen at 10:25 on 8/12/2020)
  5. https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-real-objective-of-mob-violence-against-muslims-in-india ( last seen at 10:30 on 8/12/2020)
  6. https://theprint.in/india/jharkhand-lynching-spares-no-religion-police-govt-think-its-routine/302855/ ( last seen at 10:32 on 8/12/2020)
  7. http://www.ijrar.org/papers/IJRAR1944490.pdf ( last seen at 10:35 on 8/12/2020)
  8. http://www.academicjournal.in/archives/2017/vol2/issue4/2-4-15 ( last seen at 10:38 on 8/12/2020)
  9. Image Credits https://images.app.goo.gl/aFZ3TQKntVHJHkfr9









































                                                                                                                                  -Sneha Mahawar


                                                    


Questions on the Ayodhya Dispute

The first question which arises when the topic ‘Ayodhya’ is introduced is that - ‘Was there a Mandir before or was there a Masjid before?’ The second question is to find out the ownership of the property, which is who the actual owner of the Ayodhya land is? Thirdly, why is this dispute so complicated? The fourth question brings into the picture the verdict of Allahabad High Court, and what was the verdict of the Allahabad High Court, and why was it discarded and not implemented? The fifth question is to know about the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report, which is What was the release of the Archaeological Survey of India? The sixth question is the real deal; that is what the demands of the parties of the matter of dispute are? The seventh question is, why did mediation fail? Lastly, what impact would the Supreme Court’s verdict create on the public? 

Introduction and Background of the Ayodhya Dispute

The Hindus considered Ayodhya as the birthplace of Lord Ram, the Hindu deity whereas, the Muslims considered as a place where there was a Mosque named Babri Masjid built as a tribute towards a Mughal Emperor, Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur (often called as Babur), by his commander Mir Baqi. The dispute began when the locals said that the Babri Masjid was constructed after demolishing a temple of Lord Ram. This led to a series of events that included violence, riots, massacre, demolition of the Babri Masjid, placing the idol of Lord Ram inside the mosque in the middle of the night, and many other illegal acts which increased the differences between the Hindu-Muslim community. Civil suits were filed in Courts, and many efforts were put in to resolve the dispute outside the Court, but all the settlements failed. High Courts decision of Faizabad and Allahabad were considered unsustainable, and a ‘stay’ was put on those judgements. Finally, the Supreme Court of India had to interfere with bringing the parties to a settlement. It suggested the settlement via a mediation panel, but that failed too. Lastly, after a hearing of 40 long days, the Supreme Court of India delivered its verdict. 

Timeline of the Ayodhya Dispute

1528 → Babri Masjid was constructed

1853 - 1859 → Hindu-Muslim riots began

1885 → First time Hindu-Muslim Ayodhya dispute case reaches Court

1949 → Idol of Lord Ram was placed inside the Babri Masjid.

1950 → A case was filed by Mahanta Ram Chandra Das on the grounds of ‘Right to Worship.’

1959 → A case was filed by the Nirmohi Akhara, stating the right to possess the entire area of the disputed property.

1961 → A case was filed by the Sunni Waqf Board asking for the right of possession of the Babri Masjid area.

1986 → Faizabad Court delivered a judgement that gave Hindus the right to worship in this area.

1989 → A case was filed under the name ‘Ram Lalla Virajman’. They also demanded possession over the entire area of the Ayodhya disputed property.

1990 → BJP Minister Lal Krishna Advani takes out a procession of Rath Yatra (chariot journey) from Somnath, Gujrat to Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.

1991 → To control tension and rage in the country, the Government of Kalyan Singh in Uttar Pradesh takes over the entire area of Ayodhya disputed land under its control.

1992 → Babri Masjid was demolished. (6th December 1992)

1992 → A Liberhan Commission was appointed to investigate the destruction of the Babri Masjid and people to be held responsible. (16th December 1992)

1993 → The Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act was passed due to the acquisition of land in the disputed area. Ismail Faruqui, along with others, filed a petition challenging some aspects of the Act.

1994 → The Supreme Court in the Ismail Faruqui case held that mosque is not integral to Islam as namaz can be offered anywhere.

2002 → ‘Ayodhya Vibhag’ was formed to resolve the differences between the Hindu-Muslim community and to reach a permanent solution that shall benefit both the committees with mere talking and without any violence.

2002 → A three-judge bench was constituted in the Allahabad High Court to decide the possession or ownership of the disputed Ayodhya area. It asked the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to submit its report. (April)

2010 → The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court delivered a historical judgement. (30th September 2010)

2011 → The Supreme Court of India put a ‘stay’ order on the judgement delivered by the Allahabad High Court. (9th May 2011)

2016 → A case was filed by Subramaniam Swamy in the Supreme Court for the construction of Ram Mandir on the disputed land. (February)

2017 → Then the Chief Justice of India (CJI), Supreme Court, Justice Jadish Singh Khehar, suggested resolving the whole Ayodhya dispute outside the Court with a settlement. (March)

2017 → Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Lal Krishna Advani, Vinay Katiyar were accused of criminal conspiracy for the demolition of Babri Masjid. (May)

2017 → Against the judgement delivered by the Allahabad High Court, there were 32 appeals in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court of India stated that the hearing on this matter of Ayodhya dispute would begin from January 2019. (December)

2019 → A mediation panel was made by the Supreme Court of India. (8th March 2019)

2019 → The mediation panel submits the final report to the Supreme Court of India. (May)

2019 → Hearing of 40 long days at the Supreme Court. (6th August 2019 - 14th October 2019 → The Supreme Court gave its verdict on Ayodhya Dispute. (9th November 2019)

2020 → The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the Ram Mandir Bhoomi puja ceremony. (5th August 2020)

Analysis of the anecdote: The Ayodhya Dispute

Both the Hindus and the Muslims have different stories on the Ayodhya Dispute. The story that lives finally is that in the year 1528, during the reign of Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur (often called as Babur), a Mughal Emperor the Babri Majid was constructed by the commander of Babur, Mir Baqi as a tribute towards Babur. The locals of the area believed that the Masjid was built by demolishing a Mandir of Lord Ram. This led to the beginning of riots between the community of Muslims and Hindus during the years 1853 - 1859. To put a stop on these riots between the community of Hindus and Muslims, the British Government intruded and divided the entire area into two parts. The division was such that the inner area would be given to the Muslims, and the outer area will be given to the Hindus.

In the year 1885, the matter of Hindu-Muslim rage of Ayodhya reaches the Court for the first time when Mahanta Raghubir Das filed a case to obtain permission for constructing a chat (roof) in the outer area to worship. This plea was dismissed.

In the year 1949, an idol of Lord Ram was placed in the central part of the Masjid which was considered as an actual place of birth of Lord Ram. After the idol was placed in the Masjid’s central part, Hindus started worshipping that part as well. The agitation and rage between the communities increased at an increasing pace. To control the Hindu-Muslim situation, the Government banned the entry and exit in the entire area of dispute. The whole area was sealed and closed for the public either be a Hindu or a Muslim. Many civil cases were filed to remove the ban imposed by the Government on the disputed property of Ayodhya. The cases were, In the year 1950, Mahanta Ram Chandra Das filed a lawsuit on the grounds of ‘Right to worship’. In the year 1959, a case was filed by the Nirmohi Akhara, stating the right to possess the entire area of the disputed property. In the year 1961, a lawsuit was filed by the Sunni Waqf Board asking for the right of possession of the Babri Masjid area. The Faizabad Court delivered a verdict in the year 1986, which gave Hindus the right to worship in this area. The Muslim community got agitated at this verdict. It formed a committee ‘Babri Masjid Action Committee’ along with which to stay upfront Hindus formed a committee named ‘Vishwa Hindu Parishad’ for the formation of Ram Mandir.

Then in the year 1989, another case was filed under the name ‘Ram Lalla Virajman’. They also demanded possession over the entire area of the Ayodhya disputed property.

In the year 1990, then the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Minister Lal Krishna Advani took out a procession of Rath Yatra (chariot journey) from Somnath, Gujrat to Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. This procession triggered religious violence, and as a result, Lal Krishna Advani was arrested in Bihar. The situation led to the killings of thousands of people due to the violence in the country. At that time, Lal Krishna Advani was the Senior Minister of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and then the Government in power was of Vishwanath Pratap Singh. As Lal Krishna Advani was arrested, to revoke his arrest orders Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pulled its support from the government of Vishwanath Pratap Singh. This led to early elections, which were beneficial for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In the year 1991, to control tension and rage in the country, the Government of Kalyan Singh in Uttar Pradesh took over the entire area of Ayodhya disputed land under its control.

The next most significant event took place on the 6th of December 1992. On this date, thousands of kar sevaks reached Ayodhya and demolished the Babri Masjid. In the same place, the kar sevaks constructed a temporary Ram Mandir. After the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the riots were at its peak in the country.

On 16th December 1992, a Liberhan Commission was appointed to investigate the destruction of the Babri Masjid and people to be held responsible. The government in power was the Congress government under Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. The Congress Government proposed that a Mandir of Lord Ram, a Masjid, a library, a museum along with other facilities shall be constructed in the disputed area of Ayodhya. This proposal made by the Congress government was vehemently opposed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In the year 2002, the government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power, and our former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, started ‘Ayodhya Vibhag’. The main motive, objective, and purpose of forming ‘Ayodhya Vibhag’ were to resolve the differences between the Hindu-Muslim community and to reach a permanent solution that shall benefit both the committees with mere talking and without any violence.

In April 2002, a three-judge bench was constituted in the Allahabad High Court to decide the possession or ownership of the disputed Ayodhya area. The three judges appointed were Justice Sudhir Agarwal, Justice Sibghat Ullah Khan, and Justice Dharam Veer Sharma. The Allahabad High Court asks the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to submit a report on the investigation of the Ayodhya-Babri disputed area for the Court hearing. The report provided by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) forms a timeline stating that in the 12th century there was a mandir in the disputed area and in the year 1528, in the same area a masjid was constructed. It also stated that the duration between the 12th century and the year 1528 that is approximately 300 years, has no evidence of a standing mandir or a masjid on the disputed land. Hence, the final report stated that after connecting the dots and the interaction with the local public, it could be concluded that the Babri Masjid was constructed after demolishing the Mandir.

On 30th September 2010, after taking into consideration all the reports and evidence, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court delivered a historical judgement. The verdict delivered by the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court was that the entire disputed area should be divided into three parts. The first part of ‘Ram Murti’ was given to ‘Ram Lalla Virajman.’ The second part of ‘Sita Rasoi, Bhandara and Ram Chabutra’ was given to ‘Nirmohi Akhara.’ The remaining portion was given to the ‘Sunni Waqf Board’.

On 9th May 2011, the Supreme Court of India put a stay on the judgemnt delivered by the Allahabad High Court. In February 2016, Subramaniam Swamy filed a case in the Supreme Court for the construction of Ram Mandir on the disputed land.

In March 2017, then the Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court, Justice Jadish Singh Khehar, suggested resolving the whole Ayodhya dispute outside the Court with a settlement. Against the judgement delivered by the Allahabad High Court, there were 32 appeals in the Supreme Court by December 2017. The Supreme Court of India stated that the hearing on this matter of Ayodhya dispute would begin from January 2019. The Supreme Court of India composed a five-judge bench for the hearing of this case. The judges appointed were Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice Ashok Bhusan, and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer.

On the 8th of March, 2019 the Supreme Court of India made a mediation panel of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Sr. Adv. Sriram Panchu, and Retd. J. FMI Kalifulla and asks to settle the matter via a Court regulated mediation.

In May 2019, the mediation panel submitted the final report to the Supreme Court of India. After the submission of the report by the mediation panel, there was a hearing of 40 days at the Supreme Court regarding the Ayodhya dispute. The dates were 6th August 2019 - 14th October 2019 of the hearing. After the hearing was completed, the Supreme Court reserves its verdict and asks the parties to submit ‘Moulding of Reli.’’. ‘Moulding of Relief’ means that in case the Court cannot provide the party with what it prays for, then what is the alternative or prayer or remedy they desire. Here, the Nirmohi Akhara was represented by Sunil Kumar Jain, Rajeev Dhawan represented the Sunni Waqf, and C.S. Vaidyanathan represented Ram Lalla Virajman.

Nirmohi Akhara stated that since 1934 the possession of the inner courtyard should be given to them, but they had no documentation for stating their claim. Sunni Waqf Board said that till the 6th of December, 1992 the disputed area had a Masjid, which shall be taken into consideration. It further stated that in the year 1949, in the middle of the night, the idol of Lord Ram was illegally placed inside the Masjid. The Sunni Waqf also stated that ‘Ram Chabutara’ is worshipped by the Hindus, which is the actual birthplace of Lord Ram, and they have no objections, but the inner courtyard shall be given to the Sunni Waqf Board. Ram Lalla Virajman stated that the disputed land also constituted Ram Mandir, which was demolished for constructing Babri Masjid. Moreover, they said that since 1949, when the idol of Lord Ram was placed in the Masjid, the Hindus have a right over the area. They further state that as per the report submitted by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), it shows that the pillars, slabs of Babri Masjid had sculptures of Hindu.

Hence, the Supreme Court of India stated that the possession or ownership of the land could not be decided based on hearsay or a mere report of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The actual ownership of the property can only be determined based on evidence and legal principles. And evidence shows that even when there was a Masjid, no Hindu was stopped from worshipping in that area. The Supreme Court stated that the stay order was put on the judgement of Allahabad High Court as it was ‘unsustainable’ because no party asked for the relief which was provided by the Allahabad High Court. The Supreme Court declared that as the majority of the case is based on historical facts and figures, so relying on the probabilities, and it was settled that the Hindus have been worshipping in the outer area since 1857. The Court also declared that the stop on the Muslim reading namaz in the disputed territory had been imposed from the year 1949, which is deprivation of the right to worship.

Thus, the Supreme Court uses the power confided in it by Article 142 of the Constitution of India. It was held that the area of about 2.77 acres on which Babri Masjid was built would be given to Ram Lalla Virajman for constructing Ram Mandir, and the Sunni Waqf Board will be given an alternate land of 5 acres for constructing mosque through the Central or the State government. Both parties shall receive the allotted area on the same day. On 5th August 2020, the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the Ram Mandir Bhoomi puja ceremony.
Ayodhya Verdict

The Ayodhya dispute arises from the year 1528, which falls more than 500 years back in time. This is the second-longest case of the Supreme Court of India, which stretched its hearing for 40 days.

The Supreme Court of India stated the ratio-decidendi (the reason for deciding) for delivering such a verdict. Firstly, the possession or ownership of any land cannot be determined based on hearsay or a mere report of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The actual ownership of the property can only be decided based on evidence and legal principles. Secondly, the evidence shows that even when there was a Masjid on the disputed land no Hindu was ever stopped from worshipping in that area. Thirdly, the Supreme Court declared that as the majority of the case is based on historical facts and figures so relying on the probabilities, it is settled that the Hindus have been worshipping in the outer area since 1857. Lastly, Muslims also have a Right to worship, which was illegally deprived in the year 1949 when they were asked not to read namaz in the disputed area. Lastly, after taking into consideration the ‘Moulding of Relief’ as stated by the parties and other legal obligations, this was the kind of relief which the parties prayed for and was within the legal boundaries of the law. The judgement delivered by the Supreme Court of India holds historical importance.

The Supreme Court of India held that an area of disputed land of about 2.77 acres would be given to the Ram Lalla Virajman (Hindus) for constructing a temple of Lord Ram and an area of about 5 acres of another land will be given to the Sunni Waqf Board (Muslims) through the Central or the State government for constructing a mosque. It further stated that both the parties would receive the allotted land on the same day to avoid any kind of conflict.

To implement its verdict, the Supreme Court of India uses its power vested in it by Article 142 of the Constitution of India, which states the power of the Supreme Court to pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice.
Conclusion

Hence, the “Ayodhya Verdict” is the second-longest case in history between the Hindu-Muslim community, which led to disputes, violence, and riots for over 500 years. The debate was for the ownership of a piece of land where Lord Ram was born, and Babri Masjid was constructed. After struggling through various reforms, the Supreme Court has delivered its final verdict, and the ‘Ayodhya Dispute’ has finally reached a conclusion.