SC verdict on Ayodhya land dispute :Hindus get disputed land for temple, Muslims alternate space for mosque

New Delhi, Nov. 9:

The Supreme Court of India pronounced its verdict on the Ramjanambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case in a 1045-page judgment on Saturday putting the decades-old dispute to rest. The top court directed the Centre to form an Ayodhya trust for building of the temple and announced a five-acre alternate land for the Muslims.

A Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on November 9 has delivered its judgment in the cross-appeals filed by the Hindu and Muslim sides challenging the three-way partition of the disputed 2.77 acres of Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land among Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Waqf Board in September 2010.

In a unanimous judgment, the Bench 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 court also ordered the Central government to formulate a scheme within three months to implement this order.

The Supreme Court Bench said the three-way partition of the Ramjanmabhoomi by the Allahabad High Court defied logic. On the faith of Hindus, the Supreme Court observes: There is consistent proof that Hindus considered Ayodhya the birthplace of Ram. Hindus believed Ram was born under the central dome of the demolished mosque. Testimonies, even in cross examination, did not disprove Hindus’ faith in birthplace as not genuine.

Once evidence is there of the belief/faith that Ramjanmabhoomi is the birthplace of Ram, court has to acknowledge it. Beyond the ken of the court to probe whether the belief is justified. Court cannot go by theology but only on evidence and balance of probabilities.

There is historical evidence to prove the presence of worshippers at Ram Chabutra and Sita Rasoi and offering of prayers. This was a practice even before the British came. The adjudication of title is based on evidence and not travelogues, gazette entries.

The construction of the railings on the premises was ostensibly to maintain peace. But the fact that Hindus leaned over the railings to offer worship at the direction of the mosque’s central suggests their force of belief/faith that Ram was born there.

Accepting the ASI’s report, the Supreme Court states that the mosque was not constructed on vacant land. It observes, the pre-existing structure was large and Babri pillars prove a pre-existing structure. Pre-existing structure was not on Islamic and the arte facts collected show earlier structure was non-Islamic.

Balance of probabilities suggested the pre-existence of temple. But the ASI has refrained from saying temple was demolished. It only says material was used for constructing mosque. Both Hindus and Muslims cannot explain what the disputed land was used for from 12th to 16th century.

The demolition of mosque in 1992 was a violation of law, says the Bench. It orders government to provide alternative land for Muslims. The Bench orders that a temple will be constructed on the disputed land. It orders the Centre to formulate a scheme within three months under the Ayodhya Act 1993.

The scheme will have a Trust for management and construction of temple. Both the inner courtyard and the outer courtyard will be handed over to this Trust. The Centre will give the rest of the land to the Trust.

Muslims will be awarded five acre of alternative land in a suitable, prominent place. Till the Trust is formed, the ownership of the site will rest with the Centre. The suit filed by Nirmohi Akhara for sherbaiti rights has been time barred and hence dismissed.

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