Supreme Court hands over Ram Janmabhoomi site to Hindus to build Ram Mandir, Sunni Waqf Board to be given alternate site for mosque

Image Courtesy:

In a historic judgement ending a dispute spanning centuries, the Supreme Court of India handed over the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri masjid land to the Hindu parties, making way for Hindu devotees to have a grand Ram Mandir at the birthplace of Lord Ram. The Apex court also ordered the union government to provide 5 acres of land at an alternate site at a prominent location in Ayodhya to the Sunni Waqf Board to rebuild the Babri Masjid which was demolished in 1992.

The 5-judge bench of the supreme court delivered a unanimous judgement in the Ram Janmabhoomi case. The top 5 senior judges came to the decision after weighing the arguments presented by all sides for 40 days. CJI Ranjan Gogoi said that the bench is the final arbitrator in the matter and he said that the court is not obligated to give a religious rationale while deciding the case.

The 5-judge bench said that the Central Govt should within 3 months formulate a scheme envisaging setting up of Trust to built the Ram Mandir. Possession of inner and outer courtyards to be handed over to the Trust.

Delivering the much-anticipated verdict, CJI Ranjan Gogoi said that this court must accept faith and belief of worshippers. CJI Ranjan Gogoi started the pronouncement by saying that this Court set up under Constitutional scheme should defer from interfering with faith and belief of worshippers and that secularism basic feature of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court dismissed Suit 3 filed by Nirmohi Akhara. CJI said that this suit is governed by Article 120 of Limitation Act and is barred by limitation, Supreme Court. SC said that the Nirmohi Akhada has not been able to prove that they had Shabait rights and that the ASI data cannot be disproved. 

Further, the Supreme Court said that Ram Janma Bhoomi not a juristic person but Ram Lalla Varjaman is (which is the deity itself). 

The Supreme Court said that there is adequate material in ASI report to conclude the following – Babri Masjid not constructed on vacant land. There was a structure underlying the disputed structure. The underlying structure was not an Islamic structure, Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court said that ASI refrained from recording a finding on whether the mosque was built after demolishing a Hindu temple, Finding of title cannot be based only on Expert report of ASI, Supreme Court. Title to the land should be decided based on settled legal principles,

Talking about faith, the SC said that people from both faiths, Hindus and Muslims offered prayers at the site. Further, SC said the cross-examination of the witnesses has not led the court to believe that the faith of Hindus is not justified. On whether a belief is justified is beyond judicial inquiry, SC said once faith is established, courts should defer to it. Also, the accounts of the travellers must be read with introspection. The court must be circumspect in making conclusions from what a traveller may have seen and observed.

Sunni Waqf Board has the locus to initiate legal proceedings. Sunni Waqf Board’s suit is maintainable. But Muslims can’t assert the right of adverse possession. Possession, as asserted by Muslims cannot meet the threshold of adverse possession, the SC observed.

The Supreme Court held that the Muslims have not brought evidence to show possessory title, there is no evidence to show the offer of Namaz by Muslims to the exclusion of Hindus. Hindus have been able to establish unimpeded possession of outer courtyard, Supreme Court.

The disputed site is one composite land parcel. Sunni Wakf Board has not established its case of adverse possession. Hindus have had exclusive control of the outer courtyard. Access and possession of the inner courtyard is disputed

The Supreme Court has held the Allahabad High Court was incorrect in dividing the land into three. The Supreme Court held that the Muslims would get a separate land to build a Mosque and the Central government would form a trust to build a temple.

It may be noted that while the Ram Mandir will be built by a trust constituted by the central government, the Sunni Waqf Board will built the mosque on the plot given to them by the government.

OpIndia Staff: Staff reporter at OpIndia