“You will never let this country remain in peace,” the Supreme Court said Friday while dismissing a plea seeking permission to carry out religious activities in nine ancient temples situated on the undisputed acquired land adjacent to Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid site at Ayodhya. “There will always be something,” said a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna. The bench was hearing an appeal filed against the January 10 order of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, which had dismissed the plea seeking its nod to offer prayer in the nine temples there and had also imposed a cost of Rs 5 lakh on the petitioner.
The apex court, while hearing the appeal, told petitioner Pandit Amar Nath Misra to “stop poking” around with the issue. Misra, who is a social activist, had claimed before the high court that authorities have turned a “blind eye” to the initiation of religious activities in ancient temples which are situated on the acquired but undisputed land in Ayodhya since last 25 years.
The apex court recently appointed a panel of mediators headed by former top court judge Justice F M I Kalifulla for exploring the possibility of an amicable settlement to the vexatious land dispute. Spiritual guru and founder of Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, a renowned mediator, are the other two members of the panel of mediators.
Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid, constructed at the disputed site in the 16th century by Shia Muslim Mir Baqi, was demolished. Religious tolerance has been one of the great traditions of the people of India, HC had said Pandit Amar Nath Misra had approached the High Court seeking permission to carry out religious activity in nine old/ancient temples housing the idols of various Gods and Goddesses situated on the undisputed acquired land adjacent to the Ram Janam Bhoomi Complex.
The bench noted that this case is undoubtedly one of the most sensitive case and known to persons of all faiths across the country. It noted in its order: “Even otherwise any citizen in his own house or over his own property can define his place of worship but such a right cannot be acknowledged as a right to be asserted at a public place which has been established to be utilized by every member of the public at large for a particular purpose. Thus, the land which has been acquired by the Central Government in the interest of the public at large, cannot be claimed to be a place of worship as a matter of fundamental right.”
The bench had also observed that religious tolerance has been one of the great traditions of the people of India.
It had said: “The people of different religions and sects have been living together since ages and contributing in the development of the country. This is a message for all the communities to show full faith and credit to the Constitution and judiciary for maintaining the rule of law and communal harmony. A tolerant society must be nurtured for our growth as a country.”