Daily Vocabulary from The Hindu – 13th November, 2019 | The Majesty of Justice – Ayodhya verdict

Daily Vocabulary from The Hindu – Words, Antonyms, Synonyms, and Example.

1. Infallible (adjective): Meaning: Never wrong, failing, or making a mistake.
Synonyms: Unerring, Impeccable, Flawless, Failsafe
Antonyms: Faulty, Uncertain, Unreliable, Flawed
Example: His fighting pattern seems to be infallible.

2. Prerogative (noun): Meaning: A right or privilege exclusive to a particular individual or class.
Synonyms: Privilege, Entitlement, Perquisite, Due, Power
Antonyms: Handicap, Restriction, Hindrance, Impediment
Example: He makes all the big decisions – that’s his prerogative as company director.

3. Untenable (adjective): Meaning: Not able to be supported or defended against criticism, or no longer able to
Synonyms: Indefensible, Unjustified, Unsound, Implausible
Antonyms: Tenable, Sustainable, Viable, Plausible
Example: I find your theory is untenable and it must be rejected.

4. Surreptitiously (adverb): Meaning: Secretly, without anyone seeing or knowing.
Synonyms: Stealthily, Sneakily, Slyly, Clandestinely
Antonyms: Openly, Overtly, Publicly, Plainly
Example: Joe surreptitiously had a look in the answer book.

5. Appease (verb): Meaning: Pacify (someone) by agreeing to their demands.
Synonyms: Placate, Soothe, Conciliate, Mollify
Antonyms: Provoke, Needle, Aggravate, Niggle
Example: The government tried to appease discontented workers.

6. Egregious (adjective): Meaning: Outstandingly bad; shocking.
Synonyms: Terrible, Appalling, Grievous, Hideous
Antonyms: Wonderful, Delightful, Marvelous, Fantabulous
Example: The desire for vengeance is very strong, simply because the abuses were so egregious.

7. Succumb (verb): Meaning: To lose the determination to oppose something; to accept defeat.
Synonyms: Submit, Yield, Capitulate, Cave In
Antonyms: Withstand, Resist, Bear, Endure
Example: I’m afraid I succumbed to temptation and had a piece of pizza.

8. Postulate (verb): Meaning: To suggest a theory, idea, etc. as a basic principle from which a further idea is
formed or developed.
Synonyms: Suggest, Posit, Predicate, Assert, Propose
Antonyms: Reject, Deny, Refute, Rebut, Obviate
Example: The school building programme postulates an increase in educational investment.

9. Majesty (noun): Meaning: Impressive beauty, scale, or stateliness.
Synonyms: Awesomeness, Grandeur, Magnificence, Gravitas
Antonyms: Ordinariness, Plainness, Dullness, Inferiority
Example: The photograph captures the sunset in all its majesty.

10. Vexing (adjective): Meaning: Annoying, worrying, or causing problems.
Synonyms: Annoying, Worrisome, Incommodious, Niggling
Antonyms: Pleasing, Aggregable, Enjoyable, Welcome
Example: The shortage of qualified teachers remains a vexing problem.

The Majesty of Justice – Ayodhya verdict

The Ayodhya verdict lives up to both legal and moral scrutiny. The verdict pronounced by the Supreme Court of India in the long running Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title dispute was always going to be held up to both legal and moral scrutiny. But while the Supreme Court is not infallible, the rare unanimity of all five judges reduces worries of it being legally weak. In September 2010, when deciding the same matter, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court couldn’t bring itself to reach a consensus, because the judges weren’t convinced of each other’s arguments. Instead of administering a clean cut to the Ayodhya Gordian knot, the three-judge bench felt obliged to award a third of the disputed land to each of the contending parties, further entrenching already hardened positions.

So, if the Supreme Court’s pronouncement is seen to pass the test of legality, can we say with some degree of certitude that it also convinces Muslims that India isn’t a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ where justice is only ever the
prerogative of the majority? That, by handing the Muslim side five acres of land to build a mosque at an
alternative site, the Supreme Court hasn’t been patronising? Muslim parties, including firebrand AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi, believe that the verdict is morally untenable.

The first of the concerns is that the Supreme Court has entrusted the ‘vandals’ responsible for the demolition of the Babri Masjid the task of identifying an alternative plot of land to build a mosque. While the irony is not lost, the Supreme Court has ensured the land will be granted by invoking the powerful agency of Article 142 of the Constitution, which allows it to go above existing law to ensure complete justice. Second, to allay criticism that the land grant was an act of ‘charity’ and was thrown in to dispel the notion that a majoritarian instinct dictated the judgment, it could be argued that the verdict went out of its way to dignify the hurt of Muslims. The Supreme Court after all makes it clear that the land grant is an ‘act of restitution’ for a wrong. That wrong is clearly set out through an indictment of the Hindu side for ‘the act of desecrating the mosque’ by surreptitiously installing the idols of Lord Ram under the central dome of the Babri Masjid in 1949. If the Bench was complicit in appeasing Hindu sentiment why would it go out of its way to expose the criminality that defined the acts of the ‘majority’ at the time?
Paving the way for truth and reconciliation, the top court also has arguably gone beyond the ambit of the case by
acknowledging that the ‘destruction of the mosque in 1992 was an egregious violation of the law’.

As we know the Babri Masjid Demolition Case is still pending and it is possible this observation could influence that verdict. The other more immediate concern of the Muslim community is that the verdict is a call to another mobilisation, only this time over the “unfinished majoritarian agenda of reclaiming disputed structures in Kashi and Mathura”. This fear is derived from the notion that by recognising the juridical rights of Ram Lalla the top court has entitled other deities to claim absolute ownership over disputed holy sites.

Once again, this fear ignores the salience of the apex court calling upon state governments to give primacy to the 1991 Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act if and when litigation is initiated over other disputed sites of worship. The 1991 Act prevents the conversion of religious places of worship from the shape and form they were in at the time of Independence. Some particularly sceptical commentators are worried that the verdict would only hasten India’s transition towards a ‘Hindu Pakistan’. While it is true that some members of the Hindu right have succumbed to the lure of triumphalism, they are mostly at the fringes. If anything, the Ayodhya verdict underscores the inherent robustness of India’s secularism. The judges made it a point to emphasise that the court could not ‘remedy historical wrongs’ and rejected the plea to correct the demolition of several temples by Mughal emperors.

Not just this, the verdict itself emphasised ‘fact over faith’. In an addendum one of the judges anonymously went to great lengths to list the proof that convinced him to conclude that Ram Lalla was indeed born at the disputed
site. The verdict thereby uncouples the Hindu claim over the disputed site from ‘belief’ and consciously places law above faith. The Constitution is the real winner here.

Credit must also go to a billion Indians who placed their ‘faith’, excuse the pun, in the hands of five judges. This by itself is the greatest act of tolerance and inclusion. Several governments have also played their part, waiting patiently for years altogether for the courts to finally adjudicate the dispute.

The five judges best summed up their own endeavour with the following words: “Justice would not prevail if the Court were to overlook the entitlement of the Muslims who have been deprived of the structure of the mosque through means which should not have been employed in a secular nation committed to the rule of law. The Constitution postulates the equality of all faiths. Tolerance and mutual coexistence nourish the secular
commitment of our nation and its people.” The majesty of these words makes it hard to deny that India’s highest court has set a new precedent in constitutional morality for others to follow when deciding vexing inter-faith disputes.

Courtesy: The Times of India (National)

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