The Eternity of the Deity

The much-awaited Ayodhya verdict was finally pronounced on November 9th, 2019 by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court headed by the outgoing Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, the court has deemed it fit to look at a concept deeply rooted in the spiritual traditions of this land through the prism of English and Roman jurisprudence, instead of drawing on the vast ocean of Indic philosophy and legal thought. Instead of referring to and relying upon authoritative works on Hindu law that shed light on its evolution and application before the coming of the British, the court has sought to validate the vesting of legal personage in a Hindu murti using judgments authored by English judges and by comparison with Roman law.

This article discusses the verdict’s treatment of the legal character of a Hindu deity, given its manifest relevance to issues concerning Hindu places of worship.

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