Saturday, November 9th, 2019

Babri Mosque dispute: Indian Supreme Court ruling on holy site

Published 9:34 pm | November 09, 2019

The Indian Supreme Court today in a verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute case cleared the way for construction of a Ram Temple on 2.77 acres of the land and directed centre to form a trust by the next three months for construction of the temple at the site.

The five-judge Constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi also directed the Centre to allot an alternative five-acre of land in a “prominent” place to the Sunni Waqf Board for construction of a mosque.

The bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, said possession of the disputed 2.77 acre land rights will be handed over to the deity Ram Lalla, who is one of the three litigants in the case.

The possession, however, will remain with a central government receiver, news agency PTI reported.

However the Sunni Waqf Board expressed dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court verdict saying that “the Ayodhya verdict has a lot of contradiction”. The board lawyer Zafaryab Jilani said that they will seek a review of the verdict.

The verdict was preceded by appeals for calm by top religious and political leaders and a nationwide security alert to prevent any attempt by miscreants to inflame tempers in a case that has been followed intently by the Hindu and Muslim community.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, who read out the unanimous Ayodhya verdict by the top court’s Constitution Bench in favour of Ram Lalla Virajman, which represents the child deity, said the 2.77 acre plot would remain in custody of the official receiver till the Centre forms a trust to take over the land.

The Centre has been given three months to finalise a scheme and set up the trust, The Hindustan Times reported quoting from the judgment.

“Possession of inner and outer courtyard shall be handed over to the board of trustees,” the court said in its ruling.

The verdict stressed that the mosque was clearly not constructed over vacant land and gave credence to the Archaeological Survey of India report that the Babri Masjid was built over a temple.

But it underscored that the ASI hadn’t specifically opined whether the temple was demolished to build the dispute structure.

The judges said it could not be said that Muslims had been able to establish the rights of the inner courtyard. “The Muslims have not adduced evidence to establish possessory control nor is there any account to evidence offering of namaz,” the bench ruled.

“There is no evidence to indicate the possession was exclusive by Muslims. Hindu worships at Ram Chabutra and Sita Rasoi indicate an open exclusive unimpeded possession of the outer courtyard,” Justice Gogoi said, underscoring that title could not be decided on the basis of faith and belief.

A day before the five-judge Constitution Bench decided to open the top court on a Saturday, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had summoned top officials of Uttar Pradesh to reassure himself that the administration was prepared to deal with any fallout of the verdict.

Security was also upgraded at the residence of the five judges hearing the case, media reports said. The Constitution Bench started hearing cross-appeals against the 2010 Allahabad high court verdict on the title suit in August after a last-ditch effort by the top court to give negotiations a chance did not get anywhere.


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