New Delhi: Over the past few years, and especially during the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh elections, Yogi Adityanath has been sloganeering for a Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. Now, that he has the power to call the shots will he take the executive route?
Legal experts point out that one of the options open before him was the route explored by Tamil Nadu to bring back the bulltaming sport of Jallikattu banned by the Supreme Court.
Ranjana Agnihotri, counsel for Lord Ram in the pending civil suit related to Babri Masjid demolition told News18 that an ordinance can help in building the temple immediately.
“The ordinance has to specifically focus on Ram Temple construction and such an ordinance can certainly be brought in now. The ordinance will not only facilitate building the temple but will also avoid other legal hurdles. Now, with government inching towards a majority in the Rajya Sabha, there need not be any re-promulgation of ordinance and legislation can also be easily passed,” said Agnihotri.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath can also bring in a ‘Temple Building Ordinance’ with a key clause on building the Ram temple at the official birthplace of Ram Lalla, which is the disputed site. This was also the route taken by Rajiv Gandhi in 1986 when he brought in legislation to bypass the Shah Bano verdict on alimony for Muslim women.
A top Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader told News18 that the ordinance route to construct the temple should happen now that the BJP is in power with such a huge majority.
“What the nation witnessed during Jallikattu is an important precedent here. We have always demanded that legislation be brought in Parliament just like in the Shah Bano case to facilitate the construction of the temple. If an Ordinance can be brought in to save Jallikattu, then a similar ordinance can help in the construction of the temple,” Dr. Surendra Kumar Jain, VHP International Joint General Secretary said.
Presently, the civil and the criminal suit in the case of Babri Masjid demolition is pending in the SC. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had said it would consider asking the CBI to restore conspiracy charges against BJP and RSS members.
And then, even if Adityanath decides to adopt the ordinance route, a verdict looms over re-promulgation of ordinances with the SC already having called it "a fraud on the Constitution".
However, Advocate Asim Sarode, lawyer in the Bombay HC differed with the VHP spokesperson and told News18 that ‘there can be no comparison of this case with the matter of Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.”
“Precisely, it’s a land dispute and is presently pending in the SC. In such a situation even an ordinance cannot help in building a temple on a disputed land. The dispute here is regarding an immovable property whereas Jallikattu was a cultural practice, hence there can be no ordinance in this regard,” Sarode said.
Other experts point out that the UP can avoid the ordinance route altogether if the BJP passes legislation in both Houses of Parliament. The party is expected to add considerably to its numbers in Rajya Sabha after the big victories in UP and Uttarakhand.
“With the recent electoral victories, BJP is set to become the majority party in the Rajya Sabha, ” said Shiv Vishwanathan, social scientist and commentator.
BJP members in the 243-member House are likely to go up by at least 12 seats to 68 by June 2018, while the Congress’ tally may come down to 51.
Although the NDA – with at least 98 members in the House by June next year - may still not have a majority, it can look to manage the floor with parties like AIADMK.
“Is there any force that can stop the construction of temple? When they could not stop demolition of Babri Masjid, how can they stop you on this," Adityanath had told party workers in June 2016. In the run-up the state polls he indicated that hurdles are being removed and that the construction will "start soon". Now that he is in power, many of those who cheered him on along the way will watch expectantly what he does next.