SC grants 5 acres land away from disputed site for masjid
Settling the decades-long Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute and paving the way for the construction of the Ram temple, the Supreme Court on Saturday in a landmark unanimous judgment handed over the land rights of the entire disputed area to deity Ram Lalla, one of the three litigants in the case. Simultaneously, it ordered the Centre or the State to give 5 acres of land to the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board at an alternate but prominent site in Ayodhya to build a mosque.
In its 1045-page order, the SC directed the Centre to form a Trust of its choice, independent of Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, within three months so that the land could be handed over to it even as it dismissed the claims of Nirmohi Akhara saying it is not a “shebait” or devotee of Ram Lalla. The SC, however, kept the Akhara in the game “having regard to its historical presence at the disputed site and its role” by directing the Centre to give it an appropriate role in the management of the temple.
The deliverance of the verdict on a Saturday by a five-judge Constitution Bench, comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, is unprecedented. The Bench said the faith of Hindus that Lord Ram was born at the site was undisputed, and he is symbolically the owner of the land.
The visit of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, whose 550th birth anniversary celebrations are underway, to Ayodhya for darshan of Janmabhoomi of Lord Ram in 1510-11 AD supports the faith and belief of Hindus that the site was the birthplace of the deity, the Supreme Court said.
But at the same time, the SC maintained, “The damage to the mosque in 1934, its desecration in 1949 leading to the ouster of the Muslims and the eventual destruction on December 6, 1992 constituted a serious violation of the rule of law.”
“The dispute is over immovable property. The court does not decide title on the basis of faith or belief but on the basis of evidence,” the judgment, delivered at the end of a marathon 40-day hearing — the second longest in the history of the SC — maintained.
“The fact that there lay a temple beneath the destroyed structure has been established by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the underlying structure was not an Islamic structure. On the balance of probabilities, there is clear evidence to indicate that the worship by the Hindus in the outer courtyard” has continued unimpeded even before 1857 when the British annexed Oudh region.
“The Muslims have offered no evidence to indicate that they were in exclusive possession of the mosque before 1857”, it said, adding “The faith of the Hindus that Lord Ram was born at the demolished structure is undisputed.”
The court also went on to say that the Constitution must ensure that a wrong committed must be remedied.
To remedy that wrong, the court asked the Centre to allot a five-acre plot in a “prominent” location in Ayodhya in UP for constructing a new mosque.
The disputed 2.77-acre plot will for now remain with a Central Government receiver, who will hand it over to a Government-created trust that must be set up within three months. The trust will be tasked with the construction of the temple.
Sunday, 10 November 2019 | PNS | New Delhi
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