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Muslim Personal Law Board to challenge CBI court verdict on Babri Masjid demolition culprits

Fears Modi government may use Civil Code issue to divert attention from its failures.

By Abdul Bari Masoud

New Delhi: Expressing its dismay over the Special CBI court verdict on the Babri Masjid demolition case,  All India Muslim, Personal Law Board on Saturday announced that it would challenge the decision which exonerated all 32 accused including former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani, former Union ministers Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh and other BJP and RSS leaders.

The Board expressed concern that the Mode government might rake up the Uniform Civil Code issue to deflect the attention of the public from its utter ‘failures’ on all fronts.

It also issued instructions to its Legal Committee after reviewing  the ongoing cases related to Muslim Personal Law in the courts of the country at its working committee meeting.

The Board took the unanimous decision of challenging the CBI court judgment in Babri masjid at its two-day a working committee meeting held through video conferencing.  The meeting was chaired by the President of the Board, Maulana Syed Mohammad Rabey Hasani Nadvi which also took a number of important decisions after considering various issues. It was for the first time during the ongoing global epidemic of Coronavirus the meeting was convened by the Board.

The General Secretary of the Board and several members of the Working Committee expressed their dismay and sadness over the decision of the CBI court (Lucknow) in the Babri Masjid case. Special judge Surendra Kumar Yadav  court acquitted all the accused on the basis of insufficient evidence despite numerous testimonies and witness statements and the confession of the accused themselves, which were presented in the court as and when required. It is pseudonymous of what kind of evidence the court considers credible. Even the judge went ahead a step further observing that the demolition of Babri Masjid  was not pre-planned and the accused persons were “trying to stop the mob and not incite them”. He added that there was not enough evidence against the accused and that the court cannot probe the authenticity of the audio and video evidence provided by the CBI.

The judgment delivered on September 30 after 28 years of tortuous wait came under sharp scrutiny   and criticism.

Last year the Supreme Court in November, also ruled in favour of the Hindu side despite stating that the Babri mosque was not built on the ruins of any temple.

The Board unanimously decided – whether the CBI would challenge this decision or not, the Board would challenge this incomprehensible decision in the High Court so that justice may prevail.

The Board meeting reviewed in detail the ongoing cases related to Muslim Personal Law in the courts of the country and issued instructions to the Legal Committee.

Yusuf Hatim Muchhala, Convener of the Legal Committee, presented a detailed note on the review of the Sabrimala case and said that it clearly includes Religious Freedom, the scope of Article 25 of the Constitution and what is mandatory & important for a religion could be dealt in this ruling. This will affect the religious freedom of the majority, including Muslims and all religious minorities.

After detailed deliberations, it was decided that the board would also be involved in the case as an intervenor.

The meeting also expressed concern that the government might use Uniform Civil Code to divert attention from continuous failures on the front of law & order, current financial mis-management & mishandling of COVID19 situations.

In view of the urgency of the issue, it was decided to hold in-depth meetings with religious groups, other minorities and members of civil society other than political parties and discuss how deadly and damaging the Uniform Civil Code can be for a pluralistic society.

The issue of Creating Awareness among the public regarding the Effects of Uniform Civil Code was also discussed. To address the threat posed by the Uniform Civil Code, the General Secretary was authorized by the board to form a committee in consultation with the respected President to address this matter.

The meeting also discussed the issue of a committee set up by the government to reform the CRPC and IPC. Most of the members felt that the committee’s mandate was too comprehensive and that it was justifiable to fear that its recommendations would have far-reaching consequences and implications. The country’s legal experts and intellectuals have expressed a number of concerns about the committee members and the committee’s mandate. The working committee members were of the opinion that Muslims could also be affected by these recommendations, so it was decided to set up a committee of legal experts and scholars to work with civil society and legal experts to address this issue.

The meeting also reviewed the cases related to mosques, tombs, festivals and cemeteries and the attitude of the courts and important decisions were made.

At the beginning of the meeting, the General Secretary Board offered condolences to the members of the Board, important religious and national figures who passed away and the President offered prayers of forgiveness in their favor.

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