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No promotion in Mulayam’s govt, daughter tortured by a ‘particular community’: How Judge who opened the lock of Ram Janmbhoomi site was ‘punished’

Author: OpIndia Staff
Publication: OpIndia.com
Date: January 9, 2024
URL:   https://www.opindia.com/2024/01/how-justice-krishna-mohan-pandey-who-opened-the-lock-of-ram-janmbhoomi-was-punished/

Madhu, the daughter of Justice Krishna Mohan Pandey, said her father spent 3-4 months studying everything from gazetteers to old evidence. After gathering all the evidence, he found no reason why the site locks were kept closed. On 1st February 1986, he gave his historic decision and allowed Hindus to worship at the Ram Janmabhoomi site.

The Bhavya Ram Mandir constructed in Ayodhya has the sacrifices and struggles of many people. One such person is Justice Krishna Mohan Pandey, who allowed Hindus to worship at the disputed structure. The turmoil that his life took following the decision is unimaginable. After he allowed Hindus to worship at the disputed structure, the Judge started receiving threats from Pakistan. He faced injustice in India as well. The state government at that time, under Mulayam Singh Yadav, halted his promotion. He had to approach the Court to get a promotion. Furthermore, his daughter was harassed by members of a particular community in class, which is rarely mentioned.

Justice Krishna Mohan Pandey allowed Hindus to worship at the disputed site on 1st February 1986. The judgment holds an important place in the events that led to the construction of the Bhavya Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. As per the Hindustan report, Madhu Pandey, daughter of Justice Pandey, said that her father was against the pending cases, so he gave a direct verdict in the case. There was no pressure on him to give a verdict favouring Hindus. When he was appointed as the District Judge of Ayodhya (then Faizabad), the 40-year-old Ram Mandir case was among the old pending cases he prioritised.

Madhu said her father spent 3-4 months studying everything from gazetteers to old evidence. After gathering all the evidence, he found no reason why the site locks were kept closed. On 1st February 1986, he gave his historic decision and allowed Hindus to worship at the site. Neither the High Court nor the Supreme Court overturned the decision. However, his decision agitated the then-state government.

The state government halted Justice Pandey’s promotion. His daughter also faced harassment during her time at KGMC, where she was studying medicine. When the class learned that her father gave judgment to open the lock and allow Hindus to worship there, she was harassed by members of a particular community. The situation became so tense that she had to skip several exams.

Justice Pandey’s nephew Sujit Pandey recalled how his uncle spent 8-hours a day researching for that one case. This went on for around six months. However, he did not tell anyone which case he was working on. Sujit Pandey said an astrologer, Professor Kunne, had told his uncle that he would be transferred to a small district and should not refuse it as he would gain fame after the transfer. When Justice Pandey was transferred to Fiazabad and the Ayodhya case came before him, he understood that this was the case. He worked day and night to deliver the verdict.

A monkey sat listening to the decision

In his autobiography “Voice of Conscience” written in 1991, Justice Pandey wrote, “On the date of the order when orders for opening locks was passed a Black Monkey was sitting for the whole day on the roof of the Court Room in which hearing was going on, holding the flag-post. Thousands of people from Faizabad and Ayodhya who were present to hear the Court’s final orders offered him groundnuts and various fruits. Strangely, the said Monkey did not touch any of the offerings and left the place when the final order was passed at 4.40 pm. The District Magistrate and SSP escorted me to my bungalow. The said Monkey was present in the verandah of my bungalow. I was surprised to see him. I just saluted him, treating him to be some Divine Power.

Mulayam’s government stopped the promotion

Following the decision, when the list of judges was sent by the High Court to the Central Government by Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Uttar Pradesh government, a note was left by the Chief Minister with Krishna Mohan Pandey’s name. The note read, “Pandey Ji is a resolved, honest, and hardworking judge. Yet, by ordering the opening of Ram Janmabhoomi’s lock in 1986, he created a situation of communal tension, so I do not recommend his name.” Because of this note, KM Pandey could not get a promotion even after being nominated.

Later, on 13th January 1990, the then-general secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad Advocates Association, Harishankar Jain, filed a petition in Allahabad High Court. Only Justice Pandey was promoted to the High Court. Reports suggest that the petition demanded Justice Pandey’s promotion, saying that the UP Government had sent 15 names to the centre, including the note above written by the chief minister. The Chief Justice of India approved seven names, including Justice Pandey’s. However, the central ministerial council approved the appointment of only six names out of seven that were approved by CJI and held back Justice Pandey’s name. Later, Junior Judge RK Agarwal was promoted to the High Court.
 
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