Here is inside story of Ram Janam Bhumi - Babri Masjid Dispute case.
Supreme Court has put an end to Ram Janam Bhumi - Babri Masjid dispute on 9th November 2019. This brought back, many memories from my earlier stint as a lawyer.
|My father VKS Chaudhary in his chamber|
These cases were essentially fought by my father Virendra Kumar Singh Chaudhary, a Senior Advocate and former Advocate General of UP and Justice Deoki Nandan Agarwal (Retired judge Allahabad High Court). All strategies of the case were decided in my father's chamber and during many meetings between the two, apart from some other lawyers and functionaries - late Shri Ashok Singhal also used to be present.
Justice Deoki Nanadan was a judge of the Allahabad High Court from 17.11.1977 to 3.10.1983. He could not appear as a counsel in the case before Lucknow bench as he was a retired judge of the Allahabad High Court. He was knowledgeable person and keeping him out of the court was bad strategy. His presence inside court was valuable. How this may be achieved?
There was also a defect in the suits filed by Hindus - Ram Lalla, the deity, was not a party. Imagine the most important case about Ram Lalla being decided in its absence. It was decided that a suit should be filed on its behalf through Justice Deoki Nanadan as the next friend. This solved another problem - now Justice Deoki Nandan could appear in the case as retired judges can appear before the same court in the cases filed by them in their personal capacity. This is how he came to appear in the court. He had also argued another case that pension and salary of the judges can not be taxed.
|Justice Deoki Nandan Agarwal and his wife|
The case was strenuous and was a full time job. My father used to be be busy in the case and had to be in Lucknow atleast two days or three days in a week. The chamber in Allahabad could not be looked by him. It was also decided as strategy that I would be kept out of the case so that I may look after the chamber. It was for this reason that I did not appear in the case though sometimes used to be party in the discussions.
Justice Deoki Nandan was active in the case till he died in 2002 and my father was active till 2010, when he met with an accident that prohibited him to take long journeys. They always maintained that this is a case that Hindus can not loose even if the judges wanted to decide against them. My father was most upset with the decision of the High Court as he thought that they had not decided the case but did Panchayat in the case. He advised to file appeal before the S upreme Court.
It was not that I had no role in the matter. It was my duty to drop my father at the station early in the morning for the case in Lucknow and pick him up in the night when he returned. Two or three days in a week on regular basis. Often I had to drop Justice Deoki Nanadan late in the night - sometimes at 1:00 or 1:30 hours to his house - as at that time their discussion would end :-)
What is the road ahead in the dispute or what should be the map of the future. A saner and good advise of my colleague Justice Imtiyaz Murtaza (Retired judge Allahabad High Court) is posted below. After retirement, he manages a law college and modern English medium school not only for improving conditions of his community but for the society at large.
|Advise of Justice Imtiyaz Murtaza|
On my reaction to his statement and expressing unhappiness over some troubling voices, he send me the following reply:
This was the time for lawyers to tell the Muslims that three High Court judge Judges, including a Muslim judge and five judges of the Supreme court including a Muslim has not accepted our arguments. The case was of title of suit and not of a mosque.I hope saner voices will prevail in the society. I wish a school or hospital may be constructed over the land. If this so I will be happy to contribute in the same.