In light of the Supreme Court constituting its Constitution Bench to hear the Ayodhya case, BJP MP Dr Subramanian Swamy has made public his advice to the Prime Minister.
Taking to Twitter, Dr Swamy, who has been involved in the matter for decades and has even petitioned the court in an effort to expedite the construction of the Ram Mandir, has again reiterated that an executive decision, or ordinance, is the way forward, even as the apex court hears the case.
Dr Swamy has opined that while the Supreme Court deals with the title suit case, the Prime Minister should hand over the land to pro-Mandir groups as early as possible so that they may begin construction. He has cited the Narasimha Rao-led government's affidavit to the court in 1994 in his advice. In said affidavit, the Rao-led Congress government had told the court that it would decide its course of action about what should be done at the Ram Janmabhoomi site after it was ascertained whether a temple complex indeed stood at the location where the Babri Masjid was later built. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) later determined that this was indeed the case, meaning that the Rao government would have constructed a temple there, as per its own submission. Dr Swamy has also spoken of the legal ramifications of this and the follow-up that would need to be done.
On Tuesday the Supreme Court announced that a 5-judge Constitution bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, and comprising Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, Justice N. V. Ramana, Justice Uday Lalit and Justice Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud, would hear the case starting January 10, i.e. on Thursday.
Despite Dr Swamy's views, The fact that a Constitution Bench will hear the case may imply that the Supreme Court will not just be considering the case as a title suit, but as a constitutional issue -- which is likely to come as a setback to those who had called for an ordinance to facilitate the construction of a Ram Mandir at the Ram Janmabhoomi site by citing that the apex court was only hearing the matter as a dispute over land.
The government, for its part, has been clear that it will follow the Supreme Court's lead in the case. In his Jan 1 interview to ANI, the Prime Minister had said so in as many words and had reassured that his government would take whatever effort is required subsequent to the court's verdict in order to fulfill its 2014 election manifesto promise regarding building the Mandir.
The Prime Minister's statement was welcomed by the RSS, which only sought to put a deadline on the start of construction, holding that it should begin within the current government's tenure. Speaking at the Republic Summit, BJP party president Amit Shah had also endorsed the primacy of the top court's say in the matter and had opined that if heard day-to-day, a verdict could be forthcoming within ten days.
Non-committal on the topic has been the Congress party which hasn't yet taken an official position regarding the Mandir, though its senior leaders have repeatedly spoken out against the Mandir being built at the Ram Janmabhoomi site, with Shashi Tharoor holding that the people should "build the mandir in their hearts" and Mani Shankar Aiyar questioning the need to build the Mandir at the exact spot where the Babri Masjid once stood by saying, "Dashrath's palace was so big it is said to have had 10,000 rooms. How can you say where someone was born?" In December 2017, Kapil Sibal, while representing one of the petitioners in the Ayodhya case, had told the Supreme Court to hear the matter after the 2019 elections. This was criticised by the BJP as recently as the Prime Minister's recent interview.