Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad qualified his views with the remark that he spoke as a citizen and not as the law minister.
Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday disapprove of the slow pace of hearing on the Ayodhya title suit in the Supreme Court, and appealed to it for an “expeditious decision” as had been done in the matters related to adultery and Sabarimala temple. Prasad qualified his views with the remark that he spoke as a citizen and not as the law minister. His remarks came a day after the Supreme Court Sunday cancelled the January 29 hearing in the politically sensitive Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid land title dispute case as one member of the five-judge Constitution bench would not be available.
Prasad cited examples of expeditious decisions on the entry of women into Sabrimala temple in Kerala, the adultery law, social and cultural activists being dubbed urban Naxals and the late-night intervention in the political turmoil in Karnataka that went in favour of the post-poll Congress-JD(S) alliance, and wondered why the apex court could not come out with a mechanism to decide the Ayodhya petition.
“It is the wish of the people of the country that a Ram temple be built at Ayodhya. Our Prime Minister and our party president have also made it clear that this will take place within the constitutional framework,” Prasad told reporters here. “However, I would like to add something as a citizen of this country and not as the law minister. This matter has been pending for 70 years. It took 60 years for the Allahabad High Court to come out with its verdict on the title suit and the appeal against the same has been pending before the Supreme Court for 10 years,” Prasad, who was the counsel for one of the petitioners in the High Court, said.
“The Supreme Court has in many cases that it deems important come up with expeditious decisions. It was seen in the case of Sabrimala, adultery, urban Maoists and Karnataka. I would urge the apex court to do something similar for Ayodhya,” Prasad added.
The remarks come in the backdrop of many BJP leaders, most notably Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, openly expressing dissatisfaction with the tardy pace at which the matter is being dealt with at the Supreme Court.
While hardliners in the Sangh Parivar have been maintaining that matters of faith could not be decided by a court of law and pressing for an ordinance or an Act of Parliament to facilitate construction of temple at the disputed site, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ruled out the possibility of taking the legislative route until the Supreme Court came out with its verdict on the vexed issue. Opponents of the BJP, as also allies like Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party, have, however, expressed disapproval of the saffron party raking up the dispute ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.