Ayodhya: AIMPLB wants review of SC order

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board favoured seeking a review of the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Ayodhya issue, and said it was against accepting the five-acre alternative land given for a mosque.

“The land of the mosque belongs to Allah and under the Sharia, it cannot be given to anybody,” AIMPLB secretary Zafaryab Jilani said after a meeting of the board here. “The board has also categorically stated that it was against taking five-acre land in Ayodhya in lieu of the mosque. The board is of the view that there cannot be any alternative to the mosque,” he said.

The installation of a statue of Lord Ram inside the Babri Masjid in the night of December 23, 1949, “was unconstitutional”, Jilani said, adding, “So, how did the Supreme Court consider them as ‘araadhya’ (eligible for worshipping). They (idols) cannot be considered as ‘araadhya’ even as per Hindu religion.”

The Board said the five-acre alternative land for a mosque awarded by the Supreme Court “will neither balance equity nor repair the damage caused”, and declined to accept it. “We feel that Sunni Wakf Board will give respect to this view of the community at large,” it said. Earlier in the day, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind also decided to file a review petition challenging the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict.

Jamiat chief Maulana Arshad Madani said they took the decision following extensive deliberations involving lawyers and experts.

The Supreme Court, in its verdict in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title case on November 9, said the entire 2.77 acres of disputed land should be handed over to the deity Ram Lalla, who was one of the three litigants.

The five-judge Constitution bench also directed the Centre to allot a five acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board in Ayodhya to build a mosque.

After the AIMPLB decided to go for a review petition against the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict, the Sunni Central Waqf Board is seeking legal opinion on weather to accept the five-acre plot offer for a mosque in Ayodhya. According to Zufar Farooqui, Chairman of Sunni Waqf Board, “As of now, it has to be seen whether the board can refuse to take the five-acre land for the construction of a mosque as ruled by the Supreme Court. Will it amount to contempt of court? The board has started taking legal opinion on the matter.”

Farooqui said there were divergent views within the Board on the matter and a final decision will be taken at the Board's meeting on November 26.


October 2019: Imports decline for 5th straight month

India's exports fell by 1.1% to $26.4 billion in October as shipments of petroleum and leather goods contracted, the third consecutive month of decline for exports while imports dropped sharply indicating demand slowdown.

While the contraction was narrower than the previous month, the latest data adds to the raft of economic indicators which have pointed to a slowdown in the economy. Imports contracted by 16.3% to $37.4 billion, declining for fifth straight month, which helped narrow the trade deficit to $11 billion during the month. The trade deficit in October was $18 billion. The dip in imports was the sharpest in nearly three years.

Oil imports in October dropped 31.7% to $9.6 billion compared to the same period last year, highlighting the slowdown in demand. Exports in the April-October period of the current fiscal year fell by 2.2% to $186 billion, while imports fell by 8.4% to $280.7 billion, a trade deficit of $94.7 billion. Exports have been hit by the slowdown in the global economy, while imports have been hurt due to a demand slowdown in the country. Last month, the WTO said trade tensions and a slowing global economy led its economists to downgrade their forecasts for trade growth in 2019 and 2020.


WPI inflation at over 3-year low

Wholesale price inflation moderated to a nearly three-and half-year low in October, dragged down by a contraction in manufactured product, fuel and power prices, but the fall was limited by an increase in food prices to near double-digit levels.

Inflation as measured by the wholesale price index eased to 0.2% in October, slower than 0.3% recorded in the previous month and 5.5% in the year earlier period.

Inflation in the manufactured goods segment fell by 0.8% in October, its lowest level since April 2016. The WPI in manufactured goods was 4.6% in the same month a year-ago. Food price inflation shot up to a 63-month high during the month.

Inflation in the fuel and power group contracted for the fifth straight month and stood at (-8.3%), a 39-month low. This is largely due to soft global crude oil prices.

Divergence between WPI and retail inflation also increased. Consumer price inflation rose to a 16-month high of 4.6% in October, largely led by food and vegetable prices.

RBI largely looks at the retail inflation for its monetary policy review, although it also takes into account other inflation numbers, while deciding on rates. Economists said they expect the central bank to cut interest rates in December as several other data prints have pointed to a slowing economy.

SC rules out Rafale probe, warns Rahul

The Supreme Court refused to re-examine the aspects of pricing, decision making process and selection of the offset partner in India’s deal for purchase of Rafale jet fighters from French company Dassault Aviation.

In the review petition, there were allegations of irregularities on pricing and doubts were raised on decision making in giving priority to Rafale. Aspersions were also cast on choosing Anil Ambani’s company as an offset partner.

A bench headed by the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said such a submission was not fair as the apex court in its December 14, 2018, judgment had addressed all these issues in detail. “We do not consider this to be a fair submission for the reason that all counsels, including counsel representing the petitioners in this matter addressed elaborate submissions on all the aforesaid three aspects.

“No doubt that there was a prayer made for registration of FIR and further investigation but then once we had examined the three aspects on merits we did not consider it appropriate to issue any directions, as prayed for by the petitioners which automatically covered the direction for registration of FIR, prayed for,” said the bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph. While dealing with the allegation of irregularities on the pricing of the jets, the top court said that it satisfied itself with the material made available and it is not the function of this court to determine the prices and act on mere “suspicion” of certain persons.

The Supreme Court rebuked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for wrongly attributing to the apex court his “chowkidar chor hai” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the Rafale case, but closed the contempt proceedings against him with a “word of caution” that he must be more careful in future. It took into account the additional affidavit filed by him in which he had tendered an unconditional apology and said that the attributions were entirely unintentional, nonwillful and inadvertent.

SC refers Sabari case to larger bench

The uncertainty over the entry of women of all ages to the hilltop shrine of Sabarimala in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala is likely to continue this season as the Supreme Court referred the Sabarimala review petitions to a 7-judge bench by 3:2 majority.

The apex court said the seven-judge bench will also look into similar pending questions like Muslim women's right to enter a mosque and permission to Parsi women who marry outside the community to enter its fire temple and the practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community.

CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra noted that the issue whether the court can interfere in essential practices of religion needed examination by a larger bench. Justices Chandrachud and Nariman dissented, sources said.

The court in its majority judgment concurred that the right to worship by an individual in a temple “cannot outweigh the rights of a section of the religious group to which one may belong”.

It is understood that there is no stay of the September 28, 2018 judgment which allowed entry of women of all ages in the temple. Which would apparently mean that there is no bar on young women entering the temple this season.

Leaders of opposition parties including Ramesh Chennithala (Congress) and Kummanam Rajasekharan (BJP) urged the LDF government to respect the sentiments of the devotees.