The Supreme Court at 10.30 am on Saturday will pronounce its verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case that has been in the centre of a major political upheaval in the country.
A 5-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, had reserved the judgment on October 16 after marathon hearing for 40 days. The other members of the Bench are Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer. The CJI decided on the schedule of the verdict in consultation with the four other judges.
Earlier in the day, the CJI held a meeting with Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary and Director General of Police and took stock of security arrangements in the State.
In the one hour meeting, UP Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari and DGP Om Prakash Singh apprised the CJI about the security arrangements in the State.
Section 144 has been imposed on UP to prevent gathering of people. Social media posts will be monitored to ensure that no attempt is made to vitiate the atmosphere by spreading fake or inflammatory content. Arrangements have been made to ensure the safety religious places across the country.
Fourteen appeals have been filed in the SC against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties — Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. Initially, as many as five lawsuits were filed in the lower court.
The first one was filed by Gopal Singh Visharad, a devotee of ‘’Ram Lalla’’, in 1950 to seek enforcement of the right to worship of Hindus at the disputed site.
In the same year, the Paramahansa Ramachandra Das had also filed the lawsuit for continuation of worship and keeping the idols under the central dome of the now-demolished disputed structure. The plea was later withdrawn.
The Nirmohi Akahara also moved the trial court in 1959 seeking management and “shebaiti’’ (devotee) rights over the 2.77 acre disputed land. Then came the lawsuit of the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Wakf Board which moved the court in 1961, claiming title right over the disputed property. The deity, ‘’Ram Lalla Virajman’’, through next friend and former Allahabad High Court judge Deoki Nandan Agrawal, and the Janmbhoomi (the birthplace) moved the lawsuit in 1989, seeking title right over the entire disputed property on the key ground that the land itself has the character of the deity and of a ‘’Juristic entity’’.
Later, all the lawsuits were transferred to the Allahabad High Court for adjudication following the demolition of the disputed Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid structure on December 6, 1992, sparking communal riots in the country.
The apex court had on August 6 commenced day-to-day proceedings in the case as the mediation proceedings initiated to find the amicable resolution had failed.
It had taken note of the report of the three-member panel, comprising Justice FMI Kallifulla, spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu, that mediation proceedings, which went on for about four months, did not result in any final settlement and it had to decide the matter pending before it.
As the security preparedness has been ramped up in Ayodhya before the ruling on Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title case is pronounced, all roads leading to the temple have been completely blocked by the State administration. After intensive monitoring, the administration is permitting entry only by foot.
While major stakeholders in the suit have committed to respect SC verdict, there are apprehensions that miscreants can take advantage of the situation and create communal tension after the judgement is pronounced.
The Centre has already deployed thousands of paramilitary and police personnel in Uttar Pradesh has taken elaborate measures to deal with the situation. The State Government has cancelled the leaves of all field officers and promulgated prohibitory order under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in all 75 districts of the State.
“A total of 40 companies, including 16 companies of RAF and six companies each of CISF, ITBP, SSB and BSF, will be deployed in UP till November 18,” sources said and added that these companies would be deployed in 12 most sensitive districts and cities of UP.
Apart from Varanasi and Ayodhya, CPMF personnel have been deployed in Kanpur, Aligarh, Lucknow, Azamgarh and other places to maintain law and order and ensure normalcy during and after the Ayodhya verdict.
A report from Ayodhya, quoting District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha, said tight security was in place before the Ayodhya verdict. SSP Ashish Tiwari said they were ready to deal with any situation like terror attack, communal riots, public anger, threat to the disputed site.
A four-layered security plan has been put in place to deal with any situation. Besides, 16,000 volunteers in 1,600 localities of the district have will encourage people to remain calm and the same number of ‘digital volunteers’ will keep a vigil on social media.
The administration has also created several WhatsApp groups for volunteers to pass on information.
Saturday, 09 November 2019 | PNS | New Delhi
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