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Ayodhya Case Verdict: Verdict delivered in Ayodhya case, All you need to know

Ayodhya Case Verdict
Ayodhya Case Verdict

There has been a dispute going on for years over a piece of land in Ayodhya. If you are in India, then phrases like “Ram Mandir,” “Babri Masjid,” “Mandir Yahi Banega,” might not be new to you. If you are still confused about what this whole dispute is about, worry not! We are here to answer all your queries about the Ayodhya Verdict 2019. Yes, 2019 became the remarkable year in the history of India, when this dispute finally saw a decision. A decision which was above all the religions. We will further discuss Ayodhya Case History, Ayodhya Act 1993, Why and how this dispute started, Who all were involved in this dispute, and so on. We assure, all your queries will be answered in this article.

Ayodhya verdict 2019

The Case in Brief

November 9, 2019, marked a remarkable day in the legal history of India. The Supreme Court delivered the final verdict regarding the Ayodhya Dispute case. The roots of this case are as old as the Indian soil itself.

The disputed-land forms the part of the Kot Rama Chandra village in Ayodhya. The Hindus consider it to be the birthplace of Lord Rama i.e. the Ram Janmabhoomi. They also believe that an ancient Ram Mandir was once present at the site. Mughal emperor Babur destroyed the temple in 1528 to build a mosque. The Muslims also did not deny the significance of the site for Hindus. But they argued that Babur built the mosque on a vacant piece of land. They contended that the Hindus do not have a claim over the disputed property. Both parties sought the possession of their title to the disputed land. The Ayodhya dispute case is the longest-running property dispute in India. Finally, Ayodhya verdict 2019 made its way last year.

What Did the Court Decide?

The decision or the Ayodhya Case verdict 2019 paved way for the construction of a temple on the entire disputed land. The apex court did not find the three-way bifurcation of the land feasible. It further did not approve of the Nirmohi Akhada’s time-barred claim for the charge and management of the Ayodhya temple. Similarly, the court dismissed the Shia Waqf Board’s claim that the disputed site belonged to them. The Supreme Court directed the Centre to form a scheme to set up a trust for the construction of the temple in 3 months. CJI Ranjan Gogoi highlighted the Constitution’s commitment to equality in terms of religion and faith.

A constitutional bench that unanimously decided the fate of the Ayodhya dispute case and presented the Ayodhya verdict 2019. Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi led the bench. The present Chief Justice of India SA Bobde was also present on the bench. Besides them, Justices DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer constituted the bench.

The Judgment in Detail

Amidst a state of continued Hindu-Muslim communal tensions, the apex court delivered a much-awaited decision after hearing the parties for 40 days. Let us look at the highlights of the Ayodhya verdict 2019;

The possession

  1. Possession and control of the outer courtyard by the Hindus stand undisputed as they continued to worship there even after a grill-brick wall was constructed in 1857.
  2. In the case of the inner courtyard, it is more probable to establish worship by Hindus before the annexation of Oudh in 1857. The Muslims could not put up evidence to show that they had the exclusive possession of the inner courtyard before 1857.
  3. Even after the 1934 riots, Muslims offered the Friday namaz in the mosque and did not abandon it. They offered the last Friday namaz on 16th December. On the intervening night of December 22 and 23 of 1949, Hindus installed the idols in the mosque, desecrating it. This ejected Muslims from the property without any lawful procedure.
  4. The court handed over the possession of the entire 2.77 acres of the disputed land to the Hindus. It, however, held that because of the unlawful demolition of the mosque in 1992, Muslims were deprived of their place of worship. The court observed that nobody should have employed such a wrong in a secular nation that adheres to the Rule of Law. Hence, it must be remedied. Therefore a 5-acre alternate land is to be allotted to the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board either by the Central government out of the acquired land or by the UP government anywhere within the city of Ayodhya.

Other Decisions in the Ayodhya Case verdict 2019

  1. The three-way division of the land as ordered by the High Court is not feasible. Dividing a 1500 yards land among the three parties would not serve the interests of any of the parties.
  2. As per the acquisition of Certain Area in Ayodhya Act, 1993, the right, title and interest concerning the disputed land should vest in the authority of a trust instead of continuing to vest in the central government. The government shall thereby formulate a scheme to set up the trust.
  3. The court dismissed the Nirmohi Akhada’s suit holding it barred by limitation i.e., barred by the passage of time. It dismissed their claim to be the baits in service of the deity. However, it took into consideration the historical presence and role of the Akhada. Hence, the court ensured them a role in the management of the site through the scheme mentioned above.
  4. The claim of possession by the Shia Waqf Board was however dismissed.

Full Text of Ayodhya Verdict

Ayodhya Verdict pdf

[Click here to check out the full text of the Ayodhya Verdict 2019; https://www.sci.gov.in/pdf/JUD_2.pdf]

Here is the Ayodhya Disputed land map

Ayodhya Ram Mandir Babri Masjid Dispute Explained
Ayodhya Ram Mandir Babri Masjid Dispute Explained. Image Credits: studyiq.com

Ayodhya Case History

As the Ayodhya dispute case rests now, you must want to know how all of this started and what is the controversy. Let us dive deep into Ayodhya Case history.

The land on which Babri Masjid, a medieval age mosque, stood is considered to be the birthplace of Lord Ram by Hindus. This has been the core issue of dispute between the two communities. Here is a little info about the events and timelines that have happened in the Ram Janmbhoomi case

The first documented instance of communal violence in Ayodhya was reported in the 1850s over a mosque at Hanuman Garhi. The Babri mosque was attacked by Hindus in the area. Since then, local Hindu groups of Ayodhya started to demand that they should have the possession of the site, and they should be allowed to build a temple on the site.

All of these demands were denied by the English government. In 1946 Akhil Bharatiya Ramayana Mahasabha (ABRM), a subsidiary of the Hindu Mahasabha started an agitation for the possession of the site. This agitation gained the support of Sant Digvijay Nath of Gorakhnath Math who joined hands with the ABRM in 1949.

The duo organized a 9-day continuous recitation of Ramcharit Manas, at the end of which the Hindu activists barged into the mosque and placed idols of Rama and Sita inside. Locals were led to believe that the idols had ‘miraculously‘ appeared inside the mosque. The event occurred on 22 December 1949.

The duo organized a 9-day continuous recitation of Ramcharit Manas, at the end of which the Hindu activists barged into the mosque and placed idols of Rama and Sita inside. Locals were led to believe that the idols had ‘miraculously‘ appeared inside the mosque. The event occurred on 22 December 1949.

The then Stand of government over Ayodhya and Ram Mandir

Then P.M, Jawaharlal Nehru believed that the idols should be removed. However, a local official K. K. K. Nair, who was known for his Hindu Nationalist connections, refused to implement the orders, citing that it would lead to communal riots. The police locked the gates of the premises so that neither Hindus nor Muslims could not enter. The idols, however, remained inside and priests were allowed entry to perform daily worship.

This was how the mosque was converted into a functional temple. Both the Sunni Wakf Board and the ABRM filed civil suits in local court claiming their possession to the site. The land was declared to be disputed, and the gates of the site remained locked.

In 1985, prime minister Rajiv Gandhi gave in to the Muslim uproar and discontentment in the Shah Bano affair. Overruling the Supreme Court’s decision that estranged wife Shah Bano was entitled to alimony from her ex-husband, he enforced a law to abolish the alimony provision in conformity with the Sharia. The decision was hailed by the Muslim community but did not go down well with the Hindus.

Discontentment among the Hindu community?

A clear discontentment was visible among the Hindu community of the nation. Months later, Rajiv tried to restore the balance by giving the Hindus something. He ordered the removal of locks on the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. Until then, only a priest had been permitted to perform puja once in a year for the idols installed there in 1949. After the decision, all Hindus were given access to what they considered the birthplace of Rama, who was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

The dispute further heated up in 1992, when on December 6, kar sevaks (activists) stormed the mosque compound in huge numbers and demolished the Babri mosque. An event that resulted in communal tension and riots between the two communities across the country. In 1993, the Central government took over 67 acres of the land in and around the site and requested the top court’s opinion on whether a Hindu temple ever existed at the site before the mosque was built.

Ayodhya Act of 1993

The Ayodhya Act of 1993 was passed in the same year as well which also allowed only a priest to worship in the makeshift temple constructed at the site.

In 2003, the Allahabad High Court asked the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to carry out an in-depth study and an excavation survey to determine the testify if a temple-like structure ever existed there.

ASI reports on disputed Babri Masjid or Ram Mandir:

ASI reports indicated the presence of a 10th-century temple under the disputed site and confirmed human activity at the site dating back to the 13th century BC. Muslim groups immediately dismissed the ASI findings citing the lack of evidence. However, the report was accepted and upheld by the High Court.

The matter that was on trial since long was finally decided in 2010, when Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court ordered division of the site into three equal parts, among Nirmohi Akhara, Ram Lalla (the deity) and the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board. The decision was not accepted by the parties and all of them decided to take the matter to the Apex court.

Date-Wise Ayodhya Case History

Who started the Ayodhya dispute?

  • 1528: Babur’s commander Mir Baqi built the mosque at the disputed land.
  • 1857: The British constructed a grill-brick wall was around the mosque by ensuring public safety after the 1856-57 riots. Before that, the Hindus had continued to worship at the site they considered to be the Ram Janmabhoomi as is clear by the accounts of foreign travelers.
  • 1858: Nihang Singh set up a flag and performed a havan and puja in the precincts of the mosque.
  • 1885: Mahant Raghubar Das instituted a suit before the District Judge, Faizabad. He sought to build a temple at the Chabutra. the court dismissed his plea in the public interest.
  • 1934: Yet another communal riot took place damaging the dome of the mosque was. The British administration later repaired the damage.

Post-Independence

  • 1949: On the intervening night of 22-23 December, Hindu idols ‘mysteriously appeared’ under the central dome of the mosque resulting in its desecration. Consequently, the district authorities locked the gates of the premises. The City Magistrate ordered to attach the entire property and appointed Nagar Mahapalika President Priya Dutt Ram as the receiver.
  • 1950: Gopal Singh Visharad filed the first suit seeking the enforcement of his right to worship the idols at the disputed site. Paramhans Ramchandra Das filed a second suit. The HC, however, dismissed it in 2010.

The three major suits

  • 1959: Nirmohi Akhada (also known as Ramnandi Bairagis) instituted the third suit seeking the charge and management of the temple. It claimed that the Janma Asthan always belonged to the Akhada itself.
  • 1961: The Sunni Waqf Board filed the fourth suit before the Civil Judge, Faizabad seeking the removal of the idols from inside the mosque. The board also sought possession of the disputed land.
  • 1983: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad started a nationwide movement for the construction of Ram Mandir.
  • 1986: DM, Faizabad approved an appeal for darshan of the idols. Following the approval, Hindu worshippers enter inside the structure. This was a turning point and the Muslims, in response to this, formed the Babri Masjid Action Committee.
  • 1989: Allahabad High Court passed an order transferring all four suits pending before the Faizabad court to a three-judge bench. Former Allahabad HC Judge Deoki Nandan Agarwal filed a fifth suit. He appeared as ‘next friend’ of Ram Lala Virajman, the deity of Lord Ram who is a jurist person. He contended that the diety should receive the land for the construction of a temple. In the same year, the Shia Waqf Board also filed a suit claiming the possession of the disputed land.

The demolition of Babri Masjid

  • 1991: The government acquired the land to develop for tourism. 6 writ petitions challenged this move of the government. The HC consequently quashed the acquisition.
  • 1992: On December 6, 1992, a mob of Kar Sevaks demolished the Babri Masjid killing 17 people and destroying over 250 houses and shops.
  • 1993: Central government promulgated an ordinance- the Acquisition of Central Area of Ayodhya Act, to acquire the land in and around the disputed site. The center also sent a reference to the Supreme Court to determine whether there was a temple before the construction of the mosque. The apex court quashed a writ petition challenging the validity of the acquisition.

The Allahabad HC

  • 2002: Hearing began in the Allahabad HC
  • 2003: The HC ordered excavation at the site. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) submitted its report. The report confirmed the presence of the ruins of a Hindu temple beneath the destroyed structure. However, it had not established that Babur built the mosque after destroying the temple. These findings proved to be congruent with various travelogues that confirm the worship of Lord Ram by the Hindus back then.
  • 2010: The HC pronounced its judgment splitting the disputed land equally into three parts among the Ram Lala, the Nirmohi Akhada and the Sunni Waqf Board. All three parties appealed to the Supreme Court against this judgment.

The Supreme Court

  • 2011: The SC stayed the judgment passed by the HC.
  • 2019: The SC set up a mediation panel comprising former SC Judge FM Kalifulla, Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu. The panel, however, could not yield any progress in the case. Therefore, the apex court set up a five-judge bench and started hearing the case and declared the Ayodhya verdict 2019.

Ayodhya Temple

Current Scenario of construction of Ayodhya Temple

Amidst the chaos due to Coronavirus pandemic, UP CM Yogi Adityanath shifted Ram Lalla to a new site at Manas Bhavan on 29th March 2020. The deity will remain at the site until the construction of the Ram Mandir at the Ram Janmabhoomi. The idol of Ram Lala adorned a silver throne at the bulletproof makeshift temple. The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust is managing the construction of the Ayodhya temple.

UP Sunni Central WAQF Board

The UP government has allotted a 5-acre plot to the UP Sunni Waqf Board, at Dhannipur village in the Sohawal area of Ayodhya. The Board is all ready to set up a trust for the construction of a mosque on the allotted land. Besides the mosque, there is a proposal to build a charitable hospital, a public library and an ‘Indo Islamic Cultural Center’. The trust will comprise 10 members. Zufar Farooqui, who is also the head of the Sunni Waqf Board, will lead the trust.

Here is all about the Ayodhya verdict 2019, the Ayodhya case history, and everything possible about the Ram Mandir. Have more questions? Let us know in the comments section below.

Garima Tomar

Senior Software Development Analyst at an IT firm

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