(II) Vs. State of U. P  INSC 235 (25 November 1992)
M.N. (J) VENKATACHALLIAH, M.N. (J) RAY, G.N. (J)
CITATION: 1994 SCC (6) 752 JT
1992 (6) 721 1992 SCALE (3)246
matter has come up for orders on IA No. 5 on what has been described as an
"explosive situation" in Ayodhya as a result of declarations by
certain religious groups that beginning 6-12-1992 there will be a resumption of
'Kar Seva' on the acquired site of 2.77 acres in avowed violation of the orders
of the High Court where petitions challenging the constitutionality of the
acquisition are pending. There are also certain orders of this Court which,
incorporating the orders of the High Court in this behalf, also have the effect
of interdicting any constructional activity on the acquired land pending
disposal of the proceedings.
What is poignant is that the arguments in the writ petitions before the High
Court are concluded and the learned Judges have reserved their judgment. At
this juncture some of the religious groups have threatened to take law into
their own hands.
O.P. Sharma, in support of IA No. 5, submitted that having regard to the fact
that the situation has reached in the words of the learned Attorney General a
boiling point and with the known sympathy of the Governmental machinery in the
State for the aspirations of the said religious groups, any inaction on the
part of the Court would result in the Court being presented with a fait
accompli rendering all pending judicial proceedings worthless and in fructuous.
The petitioner in IA No. 5 therefore, seeks directions to the Union Government
to step in to prevent a violation of the orders of the Court and also place
property in custodian legis by the appointment of a Receiver who will act under
the control and directions of the Union Government. It is suggested that the
Receiver, while permitting all legitimate, customary religious activities, if
any, on the property, should, however, ensure against the threatened disobedience
of the Court's orders.
arrangement, it is submitted, is the only possible assurance to prevent further
breaches of the orders of the Court and to preserve the property in status quo
pending adjudication of the dispute.
have heard learned Attorney General for the Union Government who appeared upon
notice from the Court. Shri R.K. Garg, Shri Gobinda Mukhoty and Shri O.R
Sharma, learned senior counsel, made their submissions in support of IA No.
K.K. Venugopal and the learned Advocate General appeared for the State of U.P. and the Chief Minister of the State.
On the previous occasion, at the request of Shri K.K. Venugopal, we granted
time till today for the State to spell out what convincing assurance it could
hold out to prevent the threatened violation. We indicated to Shri Venugopal
that the matter is indeed sensitive and it is not merely the question of some
construction on some land, but symbolises, conceptually and in the ultimate
analysis, weakening of constitutional institutions. It would be a pity if the
State is unable, for whatever reasons, to uphold and enforce the orders of the
highest Court in the land.
response, Shri Venugopal has filed an affidavit by the Special Secretary to the
Home Department of the Uttar Pradesh Government, in which, inter alia, it is
State Government has been giving grave and anxious consideration to the
situation arising from the call given for resumption of Kar Seva on the
acquired land. The State Government agrees that the duty of preventing the
violation of orders of the Court lies on it and is its responsibility."
Then adverting to certain delicate and sensitive issues, as the State perceives
them, involved in the handling of the situation and to the possibility of any
decision to exert force, might result in a very grave situation and the braving
of disastrous consequences which might become irreversible, the affidavit
proceeds to say:
State of U.P. would therefore be seeking direct
negotiation with the leaders of VHP and the leaders of the Dharam Sansad for
the purpose. So that the solution for achieving the religious aspirations
should be achieved without violating the orders of the Court. If this were to
be done, the State Government will need at least a week to report to the Court
the outcome of its negotiations with the leaders mentioned earlier."
appears to us that if no assurance of an effective implementation of the
Court's orders is forthcoming from the State Government,it will be our
constitutional duty not merely to expect but to exact obedience in an
appropriate manner. This step, we believe, would become necessary to preserve
the meaning and integrity of the constitutional institutions and their
interrelationships, essential to the preservation of the chosen way of life of
the Indian people under the Constitution.
Venugopal shared our concern and expressed the hope he was not in a position to
hold out any more than that at this stage that given a week's time, the
Government would negotiate with the religious groups to avoid a collision
course and persuade them to take a rational view of the situation.
Learned Attorney General who was present at our request, and the learned
counsel appearing for the petitioners in the contempt petitions, say that the
situation is already almost out of control and that any further delay might
make the situation irreversible in practical terms from the point of view of
management of the situation.
The Central Government is, of course, at liberty to make its own assessment of
the matter and take such action on its own as may appear to it proper and
Venugopal aired a strong grievance that the issue is equally sensitive the
other way as well, in that the religious aspirations and hopes of a large
section of the populace in the country for the construction of a Temple there,
seemed entrapped in frustrating legal manoeuvres and that the present impasse
is the manifestation of the exasperation resulting from such legal experience.
He submitted that the State Government should be trusted to explore the
possibility of defusing the situation in its own way.
do notice from the submissions of Shri Venugopal that the situation is not
without its emotive surcharges;
is at these trying times the capacity for statesmanship of those who bear the
burden of Government of good government is put to test. They should display
statesmanship and deal with matters in such a way that would not result in the
destruction of constitutional institutions and in the upsetting of social
equilibrium. However, we make it clear to Shri Venugopal that if the State
Government is not in a position to come forward with a convincing stand that
will reassure the Court that no violation of its Orders will be permitted, we
might have to consider the prayers in IA No. 5 for the appointment of a
Receiver or directions to the Central Government to ensure obedience to the
Court orders. We do hope that the State of Uttar Pradesh will not compel the Court to take that course leaving it no
view of the serious situation pointed out by the learned Attorney General, it
may not be proper to adjourn the matter for seven days as sought by the State
of Uttar Pradesh. We, however, think it reasonable
to adjourn the matter till Friday 2.00 p.m. on the assurance of Shri Venugopal
that the honesty of purpose on the part of the State Government to pursue the
negotiations with the religious groups carries with it an implicit assurance
that, in the meanwhile, the ground realities would not be altered to the
detriment of the Court orders. Shri Venugopal said the State Government would
seek to persuade the religious groups to defer 'Kar Seva' till after the
pronouncement of the High Court or at least for a reasonable time in future.
constructive response is forthcoming from the State Government, we might, in
order to strengthen the hands of the State Government in its handling of the
religious groups, consider making appropriate request to the High Court in the
matter of a need for most expeditious decision of the matter.
Call this on 27-11-1992 at 2.00 p.m.