Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday visited Ayodhya, just a day after a special CBI court in Lucknow framed criminal conspiracy charges against senior members of the BJP in the Babri Masjid demolition case. The UP chief minister offered prayers at the makeshift temple at the site.
We take a look at the order passed by the Supreme Court in 2013 directing status quo on the contested land. In the February 2013 order, Justice Aftab Alam had reiterated the 2011 order of the apex court calling for status quo to be maintained at the disputed 67.703-acre property.
In 2011, the Supreme Court prohibited any religious activity on the land except “pujas” at the makeshift Ram Lala temple. This is what the court had said: “The 67.703 acres of acquired land located in various plots detailed in the Schedule to Acquisition or Central Area at Ayodhya Act, 1993, which is vested in the Central Government, no religious activity of any kind by anyone either symbolic or actual including bhumi puja or shila puja, shall be permitted or allowed to take place.”
Calling out on the landmark judgment passed by the Allahabad High Court in September 2010, the Supreme Court termed the directions given out by the high court as “something strange.” In its standing judgment, the Allahabad High Court had divided the disputed land into three parts and distributed the same among three contenders i.e. the Hindus, the Muslims and the Nirmohi Akhara, an organised group of sadhus.
However, the Supreme Court Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha questioned the wisdom of the three judges in Lucknow who divided the site without the litigants even asking for such a “relief”. Staying the operation of the majority verdict of the high court in the decades old Ayodhya dispute, it declared a status quo.
From the Express Archives: SC stays 3-way ‘partition’ of land in Ayodhya