SC verdict on Ayodhya: Disputed land for Ram Mandir, separate 5 acres land for Masjid

New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) in a historic decision on Saturday raised the curtains from Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute, one of the longest running title disputes in India. The Supreme Court has given the entire disputed 2.77 acre of land to the Hindu parties with a trust to be formed by the Central Government within three months to monitor the construction of a Ram Temple.
A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi pronounced its verdict. In a unanimous judgment, the Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has ordered that a temple must be constructed at the disputed site and the Muslims must be compensated with five acres of land at a prominent place in Ayodhya.
The Apex Court ruled that Muslims must get alternate land to build a mosque. The court said that until the trust takes over it, the possession of the property shall continue to be with the receiver.
The Nirmohi Akhara also suffered a setback with the court saying it is not a ‘shebait’ or devotee of the deity Ram Lalla. The CJI Ranjan Gogoi-led bench of Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, said the Akhara’s suit was barred by limitation.
The Ayodhya title suit verdict came nine years after the 2:1 judgment of the Allahabad High Court that ordered a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acres of land between the three parties — Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board and the Nirmohi Akhara. The Lucknow Bench had ruled that Hindus and Muslims would be joint title holders of the disputed land.

The Supreme Court held that while records since the British period show that the Muslims did not abandon their claim on the inner courtyard but the Hindus had been longing to worship under the central dome of the Babri Masjid believing it was the birthplace of Lord Ram.

The Supreme Court held that it is beyond its jurisdiction to decide if the faith of the Hindus was valid or not but their belief that Lord Ram was born under the central dome has been proven genuine.

It has been proven, the Supreme Court held, that Babri Masjid was built by Mughal military commander Mir Baqi on the orders of Emperor Babar. It also held that the Babri Masjid was not built on a vacant land. There was a non-Islamic structure upon which the Babri Masjid was constructed.

Combining the above points, the Supreme Court held the title right of Ram Lalla over the disputed land. But the fact that the Babri Masjid stood at the site and that the Muslims performed Friday prayers consistently during the British period makes their belief equally genuine, and hence they hold the right to have a mosque to correct the wrong committed in the demolition of the structure. A five-acre land, the court directed the Centre, to provide to the Sunni Waqf Board for a mosque in Ayodhya.

The plea of the Nirmohi Akhara to be recognised as the shebaiti was rejected. The Shia Waqf Board’s plea that the Sunni Waq Board did not have a right to make claim on the disputed site was also rejected.

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