Drawing the curtains on the decades-old Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case, the Supreme Court Saturday pronounced that the disputed 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya will be handed over to a trust for the construction of a Ram Temple.
Reading out the unanimous verdict by five judges, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi also directed the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government to allot a 5-acre land to the Sunni Waqf Board at a “suitable, prominent site” for building mosque. Follow | Ayodhya verdict LIVE UPDATES
A trust, according to the apex court, should be formed within three months for the construction of the temple at the site many Hindus believe Lord Ram was born. The court said that Nirmohi Akhara, which was granted one-third title by the Allahabad High Court in 2010, does not have a claim to the title or even managerial rights.
Explained | New Ram Mandir to be managed by trust
The top court’s ruling was on appeals against the Allahabad HC verdict, which had ruled that three parties—Ram Lalla Virajman, Nirmohi Akhara, and Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board— were in joint possession of the disputed land in the absence of a better title, and had directed a three-way partition.
“We have already concluded that the three-way bifurcation by the High Court was legally unsustainable. Even as a matter of maintaining public peace and tranquillity, the solution which commended itself to the High Court is not
feasible,” the court said in its 1,045-page verdict.
The vexed case had reached a flashpoint on December 6, 1992, when the 15th century Babri mosque, built by Mir Baqi, a commander of Mughal emperor Babar, was razed by a mob of Hindu Kar sevaks. The incident set off one of the worst religious riots in the post-independence India, killing over 2,000 people.
The bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, said the balance of probabilities show Hindus continued to worship uninterrupted in outer courtyard despite putting up brick wall at the site. Muslims, on the other hand, were unable to prove that they were in exclusive possession of inner courtyard, the bench added.
The apex court further said that the underlying structure below the disputed site at Ayodhya was not an Islamic structure, but the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has not established whether a temple was demolished to build a mosque. It said that terming the archeological evidence as merely an opinion would be a great disservice to the ASI.
The court also said that the Hindus consider the disputed site as the birthplace of Lord Ram and even Muslims say this about that place. The faith of the Hindus that Lord Ram was born at the demolished structure is undisputed, the apex court added. The bench said the existence of Sita Rasoi, Ram Chabutra and Bhandar grih are the testimony of the religious fact of the place.
The apex court said, however, that the title cannot be established on the ground of faith and belief and they are only indicators for deciding the dispute.
Commenting on the judgment, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the verdict should not be seen as a win or loss for anybody. “Be it Ram Bhakti or Rahim Bhakti, it is imperative that we strengthen the spirit of Rashtra Bhakti. May peace and harmony prevail!,” PM Modi tweeted.
SC’s Ayodhya Judgment is notable because:
It highlights that any dispute can be amicably solved in the spirit of due process of law.
It reaffirms the independence, transparency and farsightedness of our judiciary.
It clearly illustrates everybody is equal before the law.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 9, 2019
With PTI inputs
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines