Author : Aradhaya Singh,
BA LLB, 1st year,
Indraprastha Law College, Greater Noida.
“ Hindus consider Ayodhya as the birth place of Lord Ram and the faith of Hindus cannot be disputed”.
The final and the unanimous Judgement in the most awaited Ayodhya dispute of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, in the biggest State of Uttar Pradesh, “ whose origins were as old as the idea of India itself” was declared by the Supreme Court of India that will have far reaching effects. The supreme court ordered the disputed land (2.77 acres) to be handed over to a trust which could be created by the government of India to build the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, which is revered as the birthplace of Hindu deity of Lord Rama. The court also ordered the government to give an alternate 5 acres of land at the “ prominent site” to the Sunni Waqf Board for the purpose of building a mosque in Ayodhya only.
- The full case name is M Siddiq (D) Thr Lrs vs Mahant Suresh Das & Ors.
- The case was appealed from high court of Allahabad and was appealed to Supreme Court of India.
- The Babri Masjid was demolished by Hindu radicals during a political rally which turned into a riot on 6 December 1992. A subsequent land title case was filed in the Allahabad High Court then only .
- The Allahabad High court bench began hearing the case in 2002.
- The verdict of the case was pronounced on 30 September 2010.
- In the judgement pronounced, the 3 judges comprising of Justice SU Khan, Justice Sudhir Aggarwal and DV Sharma of the Allahabad High court ruled that the 2.77 acres land of Ayodhya be divided into 3 parts: with 1/3 going to the Ram Lalla or infant Ram represented by the Hindu Mahasabha, 1/3 going to the Sunni Waqf Board, and the remaining 1/3 going to Nirmohi Akhara.
- The judgement affirmed that the disputed land was the birthplace of Lord Rama as per the faith and belief of Hindus, and that the Babri Masjid was built after the demolition of a Hindu temple or Ram Mandir, noting that it was not built in accordance with the tenets of Islam.
- The site of the Ram Lalla idol would go to the party representing Ram Lalla Virajman (the installed infant Rama deity), Nirmohi Akhara was to receive Sita Rasoi and the Ram Chabutra and the Sunni Waqf Board to receive the rest.
- The Court also ruled that the ‘ status quo’ should be maintained for three months. All the three parties appealed against the division of disputed land to the Supreme Court of India.
- The supreme court held final hearing on the case from 6 August 2019 to 16 October 2019. On 9 November 2019, the Supreme Court ordered the land to be handed over to a trust to build the Hindu temple and also to give 5 acres of land to Sunni Waqf Board to build a mosque.
In 1950, Gopal Singh Visharad filed a title suit with the Allahabad High court seeking injuction to offer puja (worship) at the disputed site. A similar suit was filed shortly after that but later on withdrawn by Paramhans Das of Ayodhya. In 1959, the Nirmohi Akhara, a Hindu religious institution, filed a third title suit seeking direction to hand over the charge of the disputed site, claiming to be it’s custodian. A fourth suit was filed by the Sunni Waqf Board for declaration and possession of the site.
Summary of the verdict:
The five judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice Ranjan Gogoi (CJI), Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde ( Present CJI), Justice S Abdul Nazeer and Justice Ashok Bhushan unanimously with a ratio of 5:0 pronounced its verdict on 9 November 2019. The judgement can be summarised in the following way:
- The Court ordered the Government of India to create a trust to build the Ram Mandir Temple and form a Board of Trustees within 3 months. The disputed land will be owned by Government of India and subsequently transferred to the Trust after its formation.
- The Court ordered the entire disputed land of area of 2.77 acres to be allocated for the construction of a temple while an alternative piece of land of area of 5 acres be allocated to the Sunni Waqf Board for the construction of mosque in Ayodhya.
- The Court ruled that the 2010 Allahabad High Court decision, division of the disputed land was incorrect.
- The Court ruled that the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the 1949 desecration of the Babri Masjid was in violation of law.
- The Court observed that archaeological evidence from the Archaeological Survey of India shows that the Babri Masjid was constructed on a “ structure”, whose architecture was distinctly indigenous and non – Islamic.
- The ruins of an ancient religious structure under an existing building do not always indicate that it was demolished by unfriendly powers.
- The Court observed that all 4 of the Janamsakhis (biographies of the first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak ) state unambiguously and in detail that Guru Nanak made pilgrimage to Ayodhya and offered prayers in the Ram Temple in 1510- 11 AD. The Court also mentioned that a group of Nihang Sikhs performed puja in the “ mosque” in 1857.
- While reading out its judgement, the Supreme
Court said that the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board has failed to establish its case in Ayodhya dispute case and Hindus have established their case that they were in possession of outer courtyard of the disputed site.
- The Court also said that the Hindus consider the disputed site as the birthplace of Lord Ram while the Muslim also say the same about the Babri Masjid site.
- The Court said that the faith of the Hindus that Lord Ram was born at the disputed site where the Babri Masjid once stood cannot be disputed.
- The Court ruled that the file suited by Nirmohi Akhara could not be upheld and it had no shebait rights. However the Court ruled that Nirmohi Akhara should be given appropriate representation in the Board of Trustees.
- The Court rejected the claim made by the Shia Waqf Board against the Sunni Waqf Board for the ownership of the Babri Masjid.
On 12th December 2019 the Supreme Court of India dismissed all the 18 petitions seeking review of the verdict.
Why was it necessary?
It was necessary because the Court “ must ensure that a wrong committed must be remedied”, the judges said, adding that “ tolerance and mutual co- existence nourish the secular commitment of our nation and its people”.
Restrictions imposed before judgement:
- For 15 days preceding the verdict, restrictions were imposed in Ayodhya to prevent violence among the religions.
- Security arrangements were increased and made all over India.
- Thousands of paramilitary forces including Rapid action force (RAF), and police troops were deployed in Ayodhya.
- The region of Ayodhya including Lucknow, was under surveillance using CCTV cameras and drones.
- Internet services were closed in several places in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. While it was announced that a total of 31 districts and 673 individuals were being closely monitored.
- Section 144 of the Code of Crime Procedure of India (CPC) was invoked in entire state of Uttar Pradesh including Ayodhya as well as in some cities such as Bengaluru, Bhopal, Jaipur, Lucknow and Mumbai.
- A public holiday was declared for schools and colleges across the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh as well as Delhi, on the day when the verdict was pronounced.
- Several army personnel were deployed in Hyderabad around Char Minar and Mecca Masjid, in Mumbai and in Chennai also as a precautionary measure.
- The Prime minister of India made a public request for maintaining peace and religious harmony.
The Sunni Central Waqf Board accepted the verdict and declared that it will not submit a review petition for the same. The Shahi imam of the Jama Masjid, Delhi supported the verdict. Some major industrial bodies also supported. All expressed their opinion in support and called for harmony and peace.
Political parties and figures:
- Many political parties in India supported the judgement.
- The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the judgement will usher in peace and unity in India.
- The Indian National Congress supported the verdict and called for calm, peace and harmony.
- Political figures such as Chief Minister of Delhi Mr Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Bihar Mr Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Mr Kamalnath and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader MK Stalin supported the judgement.
- All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen President Asaduddin Owaisi said that he was not satisfied with the judgement calling it a victory of “ faith over facts”.
- The primary lawyer of the Muslim parties Zafaryab Jilani said that they were not satisfied with the verdict.
- Jamiat ulema-e- hind, a litigant in the dispute refused to accept the alternative site for a mosque ordered by the Court.
- All India Muslim Personal Law Board and Jamia Ulema-e-hind decided to file a review petition after rejecting the verdict on 17th November 2019.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs briefed foreign envoys and diplomats about the verdict on 9th November 2019.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, criticised the verdict and questioned its timing as it coincided with the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor.
A categorical statement from leaders like Prime Minister of India Mr Narendra Modi, RSS Chief Mr Mohan Bhagwat or from the VHP that a “ status quo” is acceptable on other disputes would go a long way in restoring communal amity and social peace and development.
Nations and its people can only progress towards happiness when they decide to build future pushing back the wrongs of the past and maintain peace and harmony among each other.
The Times Of India