Ayodhya verdict: Muslim parties reject plot, will file petition

Updated: Nov 18, 2019, 07:39 IST | Gaurav Sarkar |

The decision was taken after a core committee meeting of 51 members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and 'experts' was held in Lucknow

All India Muslim Personal Law Board secretary Zafaryab Jilani and member SQR Iliyas address a press conference, in Lucknow. Pic/ PTI
All India Muslim Personal Law Board secretary Zafaryab Jilani and member SQR Iliyas address a press conference, in Lucknow. Pic/ PTI

After an intense brainstorming session with different Muslim parties over the Supreme Court's verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Sunday rejected the alternative five-acre plot of land the court had asked the Centre to allot for the mosque, and announced that they would seek a review of the November 9 verdict.

The AIMPLB's decision was supported by Maulana Arshad Madani of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, who also attended the meeting. "Despite the fact that we already know that our review petition will be dismissed 100 per cent, we must file a review petition. It is our right," he said on Sunday at a press conference. However, Zufar Faruqi, chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board — the body which was the main litigant from the Muslim side in the Ayodhya case and which was granted the alternative five-acre land — had said in a written statement on November 9, that it would not challenge the verdict as it did not want to "open a closed chapter."

'Cannot accept any land'

Referring to the SC's decision to hand over the disputed 2.77 acres for a Ram temple and its direction to the Centre to procure another five-acre plot for a mosque at a prominent location in Ayodhya, the Law Board said on Sunday, "We cannot accept any land in lieu of the masjid." Under Shariat laws, a mosque cannot be exchanged for money or land.

AIMPLB member Dr Asma Zehra said the decision for a review was taken after a meeting was held by the 51-member core committee of AIMPLB, along with legal and religious experts, as well as some 'special invitees.' Speaking to mid-day over the phone, she said, "The decision has been taken keeping two aspects in mind: the first is whether the review petition is to be filed in the Supreme Court, and second, whether or not the five-acre alternative plot should be accepted."

Parties to seek a review

According to her, the larger consensus during Sunday's meeting was to go in for a review. "Even the last minute inputs that we were receiving from a committee formed to look into the pros and cons of sending the verdict for a review…90-95% people were in favour of it (the review)." She added, "The final judgment doesn't reflect the initial findings…there is a kind of disparity, an obvious error in technical terms…so the senior advocates said that on these grounds, one can opt for a review." No specific date has yet been set by either AIMPLB or the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, to file the review petition.

On November 9, the Supreme Court had said in its verdict that the 2.77 acres of disputed land in Ayodhya should be handed over to the deity Ram Lalla, who was one of the three litigants in the case. The top court condemned the demolition of the Babri Masjid by kar sevaks in 1992, but also directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot to the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board in Ayodhya to build a mosque.

Referring to the Law Board's decision, Sharad Sharma, a local VHP heavyweight in Ayodhya, said, "The AIMPLB is insulting all those Muslims who had welcomed the Supreme Court's November 9 verdict. Even on the Board, there were people objecting to a review. Kucch log chaahte hai ki unki dukandaari chalti rahe…"

Main litigant against review

Iqbal Ansari, the main litigant in the Ayodhya land dispute case, on Sunday distanced himself from the decision of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to file a petition seeking review of the Supreme Court verdict. "There is no use of going for the review as the outcome will remain the same...the move will also vitiate the harmonious atmosphere," he said after the Board decided to file a review petition in the apex court. "My views are different from that of the Board and want an end to the mandir-masjid issue at this very point," he said.

2.77
Area in acres of the disputed land

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