Ram Temple: Why it is not a bad idea to test the ordinance route
New Delhi, Oct 29: Even as the Supreme Court commences its hearing in the Ram Temple case, there has been a huge debate on whether or not the government can take the ordinance route.
Recently BJP lawmaker, Subramanian Swamy has said that the government can enact an ordinance of ownership of a 2.77 acre plot of land in Ayodhya, which is considered by many to be the birth place of Lord Ram.
Swamy has said that the government can pass a law and then hand over the land to an eminent body of religious leaders, especially those versed in Agama Sastra, with a direction to build the Ram Temple.
Can an ordinance be enacted?
Before getting into this, let us examine what the Allahabad High Court had said in this case. The HC had split ownership of the site, three ways with the Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and For Ram Lalla getting a third each. There were appeals filed and have been pending before the Supreme Court since the past seven years.
The question is whether the BJP led NDA government can take the ordinance route and ensure that the temple is built. Can this be done, considering the fact that the Supreme Court is seized off the matter?
Advocate, K N Phanindra tells OneIndia that there is nothing that prevents the government from taking the ordinance route. What the government needs to do is take out the fundamental basis. The ratio laid down by the court and the fundamental basis or foundation needs to be taken out when an ordinance is passed, he also adds.
He further adds that if an ordinance is passed, then the hearing in the Supreme Court virtually becomes infructuous. He however adds that such an ordinance can be challenged in the court. Phanindra goes on to add that while the government has every right to do so, the timing would be crucial as jumping the gun on such issues could be dangerous also.
Swamy while stating that the government has the Constitutional right to take the ordinance route, also suggested that the existing claimants can be duly compensated for their loss of their claim on the title of the land.
However enacting an ordinance is not an easy matter. Firstly it cannot be done, when the legislature is in session. Secondly the circumstances under which the ordinance is promulgated mattes. Article 123 of the Indian Constitution says that if at any time, except when both Houses of Parliament are in session, the President is satisfied that the circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such an ordinance as the circumstances appear him to require.
Several leaders within the BJP have suggested that instead of waiting for a lengthy court hearing, the government must take an ordinance route. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath had hated about the possibility too. The BJP's Uma Bharti too had called for the amendment of the Constitution for the construction of the Ram Temple.
The Shiv Sena while hailing the Centre's ordinance to ban instant triple talaq, has said that the government must take a similar route in the Ram Temple case. The government should take steps to fulfil "at least one promise" made to Hindus of the country, keeping their sentiments in mind, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party said.
While these demands are increasing, it would be interesting to see what the government is likely to do. A lot would depend on the Supreme Court. If the SC decides to fast track the case and hear it on a day to day basis, then the government may wait before deciding on an ordinance route. If the case is likely to drag, without being fast tracked, then one could expect some decision in this regard. Over all the government may not be averse to the idea of testing the ordinance route.