Ayodhya verdict: Disputed site goes to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, Sunni Waqf Board gets alternate land
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Ayodhya verdict: Disputed site goes to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, Sunni Waqf Board gets alternate land

CJI Ranjan Gogoi-led SC bench has allotted the dispute site to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, while directing the government to allot an alternate 5 acre land to Sunni Waqf Board for mosque within Ayodhya.

The history of the dispute dates way back to 1853 when the first incident of communal violence over the Ayodhya issue was recorded.

The case had been keenly contested in various courts since the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 and has been driving the politics of the country in one way or the other.

More than 2,000 people have been killed in the Hindu-Muslim riots that followed the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 by Hindu groups.

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court formed to resolve the Ayodhya dispute paved the way to build a temple through central government-monitored trust and ruled that Muslims must get alternate land to build a mosque.

The court has given the central government 3 months to formulate a scheme for the trust that will make necessary regulations for the management of the trust.

The court said that until the trust takes over it, the possession of the property shall continue to be with the receiver.

It added that suitable land of 5 acres should be handed over to the Sunni Waqf Board. The directions for allotment of land to Muslims are issued under Article 142.

The pronouncement of judgment which lasted for more than 30 minutes, began with the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court dismissing the petition by a group of Shias claiming their rights to the disputed site.

The SC also said the Nirmohi Akhara suit was barred due to limitation. “Claim of Nirmohi Akhara only had intermittent charge of management rights,” it said.

Further, the court said that while Lord Ram was a juridical person, Ram Ram Janmbhoomi was not.

The court noted that there is adequate material in the ASI report to conclude that Babri Masjid was not constructed on vacant land. There was a structure underlying the disputed structure. “The underlying structure was not an Islamic structure,” said the court citing the ASI report.

The court said that ASI has, however, not confirmed the existence of a temple. “ASI refrained from submitting if the underlying structure was demolished,” it said.

SC, however, said that archaeological findings can’t be the only basis of the judicial process.

The court noted that evidence suggested that prior to 1856, there was no exclusion of Hindus from the inner sanctum. “Muslims have not shown evidence of curious possession of the mosque,” it said, noting that travellers provide a detailed account of Hindus’ worships.

It concluded that there was no evidence that access and possession of the land were exclusive to Muslims.

Until Friday evening, there was no clarity on the date of the judgement apart from the fact that it would be delivered before CJI Ranjan Gogoi retires on November 17. However, the decision to pronounce the verdict on Saturday came after Justice Gogoi met top Uttar Pardesh officials reportedly to discuss the security arrangements. According to news reports, at least 12,000 security personnel have been deployed in Uttar Pradesh to ensure there are no cases of violence.

A 5-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, which includes Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, had reserved the judgement on October 16 after a marathon hearing of 40 days.

The history of the dispute dates way back to 1853 when the first incident of communal violence over the Ayodhya issue was recorded.

The case had been keenly contested in various courts since the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 and had been driving Indian politics in one way or the other.

The disputed land of more than 2.77 acres was claimed by both Hindus and Muslims. While Hindus have been seeking to build a Ram temple on the site claiming a temple did exist there before the mosque was built, Muslims claim that there was no evidence that a temple ever existed on the site.In 2010, an Allahabad High Court order had split the land between the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla, the parties involved in the case, however, unsatisfied with the judgement, all three had moved the SC.

More than 2,000 people have been killed in the Hindu-Muslim riots that followed the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 by Hindu groups.