5 NUALS L.J. 1 (2011)
Of Limited Suits and Limitless Legalities: Interpreting Legal Procedure in the Ayodhya Judgment

handle is hein.journals/nualsj5 and id is 9 raw text is: 






      OF LIMITED SUITS AND LIMITLESS LEGALITIES:
  INTERPRETING LEGAL PROCEDURE IN TIE AYODHYA
                             JUDGMENT
                                                    -Kalyani Ramnath

ABSTRACT


      Commentary on the September 30judgment of the Allahabad High
      Court on the Ram Janmabhoomi - Babri Masjid dispute has
      focused on issues of faith' and 'belief' and how the court has
      'affixed' legality to these categories. But as legal practitioners and
      academics will attest, this is far from being the first time that law
      courts have embarked on this route. Some of the more remarkable
      features of this judgment, now on appeal before the Supreme
      Court, rest in its interpretations of laws governing civil procedure.
      Issues that were discussed ranged from the limitation of suits to
      the perpetual minority of Hindu idols. This Article considers the
      possibility that civil procedure in this argument is not apolitical. In
      this case, interpretations of substantive law came under attack for
      the politics it supports, but lesser attention was paid to the legal
      procedures that facilitated it. What is the court trying to remedy
      here, through its meticulous piecing together of evidence and its
      precarious journey through legal procedure? Is it merely a
      question of title to property, or is it a question of identities and
      whose 'tranquility' is more important? It is therefore equally
      important to explore what a court accepts evidence for, and in
      whose name procedure is invoked This Article is more than a
      commentary on a judgment that captured public imagination. It is
      an invitation to look carefully at some of the most fundamental
      issues that underlie legal-judicial practice in India today.

1.      AN INCOMPLETE NARRATIVE

        The year was 1949. Gopal Singh Visharad, a member of the
Hindu Mahasabha, was prohibited from        worshipping at what was
commonly known as the Ram Chabutra in Ayodhya.' There were pad

B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) (NLSIU), LL.M.(Yale). The author would like to thank Akila
Ramalingam, Aparna Chandra, Bipin Aspatwar, Manish G, Menaka Guruswamy and
Raguvaran Gopalan for invaluable suggestions. The views expressed here are her own.
'The background to this restriction on worship is given succinctly in Supriya Varma and
Jaya Menon. They record how in December 1949, the Akhil Bharatiya Ramayaa

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