In a historic judgement, the Indian Supreme Court has paved the way for the construction of a Ram Temple, at the disputed site in Ayodhya, and directed the centre to allot a 5-acre alternate plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque. Putting an end to the decades-old case, the Supreme Court has handed over the disputed site to a trust, managed by the central government. They will oversee all activities, including the construction of a Ram temple. While reiterating that the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6th, 1992 was illegal, the court ordered the government to acquire an alternate plot of land on which a mosque can be built.
According to the SC verdict, Hindus will get the disputed land, subject to conditions. The inner courtyard will be handed over to a centre-led trust, and a suitable plot of land measuring 5 acres shall be given to Sunni Waqf Board. Directing the centre to formulate a scheme within 3 months, the court said that the right of Ram Lalla to the disputed property is subject to the maintenance of peace, law and order and tranquillity; and ordered the government to take measures ensuring the same.
As this report explains, “a special full-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court had decided in 2010 that the land would be split three ways between the primary litigants, the deity, the Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Waqf Board. All three then appealed in the Supreme Court, which stayed the High Court decision. Various attempts were made at mediation, including while the Supreme Court was hearing the appeal, but none managed to bring all parties on board.” The 5 Judge Bench of the Supreme Court, however, said that the 2010 ruling of the Allahabad High Court, which had divided the land between the Hindu and Muslim parties to the suit, “defied logic”.
The Supreme Court observed that Hindus have “faith and belief” that Lord Ram was born under the dome in Ayodhya, and that once the faith was “established”, courts cannot interfere in it. “Titles can’t be decided on faith and belief but on the claims. Historical accounts indicate the belief of Hindus that Ayodhya was the birthplace of Lord Ram. Once faith is established, courts should defer to it”, said CJI Ranjan Gogoi while reading out the verdict. The bench further added that it is “Inappropriate for the Supreme Court to enter into an area of theology, true test is faith and belief of worshippers of mosque”.
While several leaders have welcomed the verdict, including leaders from opposition parties, the Sunni Central Waqf Board, one of the main litigants in the Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid case, has decided not to challenge the top court’s ruling. “We welcome and humbly accept the verdict of the Supreme Court. I want to make it clear that UP Sunni Waqf Board will not go for any review of the SC order or file any curative petition,” Zafar Ahmad Farooqui, Chairman of the Sunni Central Waqf Board said, welcoming the verdict.
With 4000 paramilitary personnel deployed across Uttar Pradesh, by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Section 144 imposed in various parts of the country, including Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kashmir, the centre has taken steps in accordance with the top court’s directive, to ensure peace and harmony and maintaining law and order situation, following the verdict. The question, however, remains as to what would the shape of the judgement be, had the Mosque not been demolished.