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Ayodhya verdict: Muslim law board to appeal in SC

By Sharat Pradhan
Last updated on: October 16, 2010 20:33 IST

Even as the All India Muslim Personal Law Board on Saturday unanimously resolved to take the Ayodhya battle to the Supreme Court, it sought to clarify that the board was not opposed to an out-of -court compromise, albeit with certain pre-conditions.

"We have no objection to considering any offer of compromise, provided it fulfils our three pre-conditions," declared AIMPLB assistant general secretary and spokesman M A Rahim Quraishi.

"As such, the formula must conform to the tenets of the 'Shariat law' and should go with the letter and spirit of the Indian Constitution, besides it must also uphold the dignity of Muslims," he added emphatically.

Quraishi was briefing mediapersons at the conclusion of a day-long meeting of AIMPLB's 51-member working committee at the Darul Uloom Nadwatul-Ulema, the internationally known Islamic university in Lucknow on Saturday.

Presided over by AIMPLB president Maulana Syed Rabe Hasan Nadwi, who
was also the Nadwatul Ulema Rector, the meeting was of the view that the September 30 verdict by a three-judge special bench of the Allahabad high court was 'full of infirmities.'

The special bench had ordered division of the disputed 90 x 120 ft plot of Ayodhya land to be divided into three parts -- one going to the Sunni Central Waqf Board representing Muslims and two to separate Hindu parties.

When a scribe sought to know if the board had any plans of coming up with its own compromise formula, the spokesman flatly denied that.

"As far as we are concerned, we have taken a decision to make an appeal to the Supreme Court of India, so where is the question of our preparation of any formula, but we are open to considering such a move by the other party," clarified Y H Muchala, convenor of the board's legal cell, while jointly addressing the media.

While denying that any compromise formula was ever mooted by former AIMPLB president and widely revered Islamic scholar late Maulana Ali Mian, he also sought to dismiss the peace initiatives taken by 90-year old Hashim Ansari to pave way for an amicable settlement without resuming another court battle.

A resident of Ayodhya, Ansari was the first Muslim to stake claim to the 16th century Babri Mosque after it was usurped by Hindu mobs in December 1949.

Muchala sought to emphasise, "We also consider it to be the right and obligation of the Indian Muslims to challenge the judgment in the apex court, in order to remover the distortions introduced by the judgment in the basic values of the Indian Constitution and the established norms of jurisprudence."

Neither Muchala nor Quraishi were able to elaborate on the alleged 'distortions' and 'infirmities' in the high court verdict. All they went about harping was that the judges had 'relied more on belief rather than on principles of law or the Constitution of India."

Quraishi went on to add, "The court had totally sacrificed on the principles of secularism, enshrined in the Constitution, which clearly says that the faith of one community cannot be given precedence over that of another community."

Replying to another question, Quraishi sought to point out, "We are not against co-existence of mosque and temple." He said, "There are very many places across the country where mosques and temples have been existing side by side for centuries; some such places have come up even in the recent years."

"But in case of Ayodhya, there was no evidence of the existence of a temple, which the court had tried to establish solely on the basis of belief of a particular set of people," they added.

At this juncture, Muchala once again sought to clarify, "Please note that we hold Lord Ram in very high esteem, even though we may not worship him, but whether he was born at a particular spot or not must be decided as per the law of the land and not on the basis of belied and pre-determined notions."

He parried queries relating to voices that were raised at the meet in favour of an out-of-court settlement.

"We cannot disclose what all transpired at our meeting, but let me reiterate that it was a unanimous decision of the entire working committee to file an appeal before the Supreme Court," he emphasised.

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow