Jethmalani's legal opinion

Published : Dec 25, 2000 00:00 IST

Ram Jethmalani on the law and the masjid's demolition:

"THE Indian Penal Code makes it a serious criminal offence to pull down any place of worship. It is no defence in law that the place of worship was constructed five hundred years ago on the site of another demolished place of worship belonging to the com munity of the accused. The throngs that threaten to converge on Ayodhya and pull down the mosque will in the eye of law be an unlawful assembly determined to commit offences of mischief, criminal trespass, wounding of religious feelings and desecration o f a holy place. Grievous injury and killings as possible consequences will be within the reasonable contemplation of its members. It would be the plain duty of the Government to tackle this situation according to the law of the land. The law doubtless re quires the state to use all the force at its command to disperse the unlawful assembly and prevent the commission of the threatened offences. The resulting mayhem and loss of life will only be legitimate consequences of the execution of legal and constit utional duty. Every sane person must therefore pause and do a bit of rational introspection while there is still some time left - however short.

"The time bomb is ticking away. When it explodes communal harmony and national integration will be the prime casualties. The nation will not emerge stronger but weakened and debilitated beyond measure. Mr. L. K. Advani is a Member of Parliament. He has s worn to uphold the law and the Constitution.

"While he will lead the assembly of law-breakers what does he expect the U.P. Government to do? Its Ministers are also sworn to uphold the law and Constitution. The police force is statutorily committed to neutralise the marching hordes even though compo sed of Sadhus, Acharyas and otherwise respectable political leaders. There is no loophole or ambiguity in the law." - Indian Express, October 16, 1990

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