Thursday, April 17, 2008
Om versus Rome
Om versus Rome - I
V SUNDARAM | Thu, 17 Apr, 2008 , 03:26 PM
The wooden and insensitive attitude of the Supreme Court of India in the controversial case relating to the Ramar Sethu has shocked the conscience of more than one billion Hindus of India and the World. When the matter was taken up by the two-judge Bench two days ago, Dr Subramanian Swamy pointed out that the Government of India had not complied with the Court directions to carry out a study whether Ramar Sethu (Adam's Bridge) could be declared an ancient monument. Nor did it state whether the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) had conducted any such study. Senior Counsel K K Venugopal, M N Krishnamani and Arun Jaitley, appearing for the other petitioners, said that the issue raised in the petition could not be decided without the Centre coming forward to carry out such a study through the ASI.
Dr Subramanian Swamy argued vehemently and said that the Centre was now seeking to implement the SethuSamudaram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) by demolishing Ramar Sethu. He told the Supreme Court it cannot be destroyed as it is a place of worship and has been a place of worship for countless centuries. Anyone who tries to damage it should be booked for criminal offence under Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
It has been clearly reported in all the newspapers in India _ both English and other language papers _ that Justice R V Ravindran retorted in the following manner:
`Who says it is a place of worship? Who goes to the middle of the sea to worship?' Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan told Dr Swamy: Don't say people go there and worship'. Unmoved, unshaken and unseduced, Dr Swamy replied with dignity and force: `Ramar Sethu is an admitted place of worship and I go there every year to worship. Lordship, it is a question of your belief, but it is a belief of the people of the country'. When the Chief Justice said `it was a matter of perception', Dr Swamy gave this pointed reply `Hindus unanimously believe that it is a place of worship. It is not just my belief. It is a belief of the people of this country that it is a sacred place. You (The Supreme Court) cannot legally sanction or withhold the sanction for the belief of the people'.
Even Senior Counsel Krishnamani was aroused to join Dr Swamy when he said `People go to Rameswaram for worshipping Ramar Sethu'. To this, in a turn around fashion, the Chief Justice said: `We don't say that Ramar Sethu is not a sacred place'.
The callous observations of the Supreme Court in a spiritual and religious matter touching the minds, hearts and souls of the Hindus of Bharatham, have indeed outraged their feelings and sensibilities. The Hindus of Bharatham for whom the Ramar Sethu is a sacred place of worship are aghast and posing this question to themselves? `Are we living in an Islamic Country like Pakistan or a Christian Country like Italy? Do we require at the apex level a Shariat Court or a Christian Court of the Middle Ages like the Star Chamber in British history?'
In this context, The Supreme Court of India cannot ignore the words of everlasting legal wisdom of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1933): `The first requirement of a sound body of Law is, that it should correspond with the actual feelings and demands of the community, whether right or wrong. ... Law is nothing but a statement of the circumstances in which the public force will be brought to bear upon men through the Courts.'
The Supreme Court of the United States has frequently reminded the Bar that painstaking examination of the fact situation is more important than the Law involved. Honourable Justice Miller (1816-1890), one of the greatest Judges in the history of the American Supreme Court, often used to say that as a result of his own experience for over 25 years on the Bench, what surprised him most was how quickly his fellow-judges could agree on the law and how frequently they disagree on the facts.
The Supreme Court of India derives its sanction for existence from the Constitution of India and the Constitution of India represents the collective will of the people of India. The common people of Bharatham expect the Supreme Court Judges, as a matter of course, to cultivate an intellectual habit of subordinating their private opinions and wishes to object to evidence and a reverence for things as they really are, and to keep constantly in mind that their private hypothesis (not withstanding their fleeting and transitory high public offices!) is at best only a supposition. In the larger interest of enforcement of disinterested law, equity and natural justice, all of them would do well to bear in mind what Thomas Huxley (1825-1895) so eloquently said: "My business is to teach my aspirations to conform themselves to fact, not to try to make facts harmonize with my aspirations. Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every pre-conceived notion, follow humbly wherever nature leads, or you will learn nothing".
The Supreme Court of India would not have posed those frivolous questions regarding Ramar Sethu to Dr Subramanian Swamy, if only they had taken note of what Lord Chancellor of England Justice Thomas Erskine (1750-1823) stated for all time in 1794: `The Rules of Evidence are founded in the Charities of Religion _ in the Philosophy of Nature _ in the Truths of History and above all in the experience of common life'.
Seeing the manner in which the Supreme Court is dealing with this sensitive case affecting the religious feelings and sentiments of more than one billion Hindus of India, I am only reminded of the following great poem of W.H.Auden (1907-1973)
Law, says the judge as he looks down his nose,
Speaking clearly and most severely,
Law is as I've told you before,
Law is as you know I suppose,
Law is but let me explain it once more,
Law is The Law.
The Pioneer Newspaper in New Delhi has rightly spoken out on behalf of the battered Hindus of Bharatham: "The contentious Ram Setu issue has once again attracted controversy, this time in the Supreme Court. The questions raised by the Bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice RV Raveendran, while hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, are gratuitous and in poor taste. The court has queried as to how the Ram Setu could be called a place of worship, adding, `Who does puja in the middle of the sea?' `obody. But for millions of Indians Ram Setu is integral to their veneration of Ram and an indivisible part of their civilisational identity…. If the faith of others is inviolable, so is the faith associated with Ram Setu'.
Dr Subramanian Swamy has spoken out like Mahavir Lord Hanuman on behalf of all the Hindus of Bharatham in the Supreme Court of India. He has defended Ramar Sethu in the Supreme Court in the same cavaliar manner as Lord Hanuman did before the Royal Court of Ravana in Sri Lanka. All the Hindus of Bharatham should rally behind him and fight for preserving Ramar Sethu against the pseudo secular marauders in the UPA Government who are hell bent upon the destruction of Rama Setu, taking their daily instructions from Sonia Gandhi, owing her allegiance only to the Pope in Rome.
Dr Subramanian Swamy has recently authored a book titled RAMA SETU-Symbol of National Unity covering all aspects of Rama Setu. This book is being released at a public function at the India International Centre in New Delhi on 20 April 2008. Swami Dayanand Saraswathi, Convenor Hindu Dharma Archarya Sabha, Sri Ashok Singhal, President of VHP and Mohan Bhagawat, Karyawah of RSS are scheduled to participate in this function and to offer their benedictions to the renowned author.
In the introduction Dr.Swamy has stated `The Government's decision to implement the SSCP is vitiated by arbitrariness, unreasonableness, and sheer anti-Hindu bias of the decision makers. Hence it cannot stand any scrutiny in Court…. However, to establish the truth and defend the Rama Sethu, I should not only approach the Courts to put the Government to strict proof, but write a book to document, in simplified language to the extent possible, the facts about the whole matter and thus inform the public'.