In what will go down in history as one of its most landmark verdicts in Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, the Apex Court of India on Saturday, Nov.9 directed the Center to form within three months a trust which will build a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.
Headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, the 5-member bench unanimously came to the conclusion, that the disputed land of 2.77 acre should be given to the Hindus, and the Sunni Waqf Board, which was a party to the seven-decade-old title suit, should be given an alternate five-acre land within three months at some other place in Ayodhya for the construction of a mosque.
Along with Chief Justice Gogoi, other Justices on the case – S A Bobde (CJI elect), D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, unanimous decision carries 1045-pages judgement report, and has upheld the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report, which concluded that a temple existed at the dispute site.
The report states that there is a clear evidence to indicate that the worship by the Hindus in the outer courtyard continued unimpeded in spite of the setting up of a grill-brick wall in 1857.
The Center will make suitable provisions by handing over the land to the trust, the top Apex court stated after 40 days long hearing on the matter.
Indian Americans reacting to the verdict called it a historic and balanced judgement.
US based, the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) a policy, advocacy and awareness forum for India and Indian diaspora thanked the Supreme Court(SC) of India on a historic verdict on Ayodhya Ram Temple, said it was one of the most sensitive issues of India.
The FIIDS admired the Supreme Court for conducting hearing the Ayodhya case non-stop for the last 40 days to resolve this difficult case that had been pending for the last seven decades.
The Supreme Court considered archaeological, government records and historical evidence to deliver this verdict upholding the Hindu belief that the Ram Janma (Birth) Bhoomi temple existed before the disputed structure.
“We welcome a well-balanced verdict that the Supreme Court handed over the entire land to Hindus and allocated land for a mosque,” FIIDS founder Khanderao Kand told indica though an email.
He said that this balanced judgment sets precedent for all the future disputes and shows the maturity of the Indian judicial system to resolve challenging situations in a calm, collected and fair manner.
“We observe that Modi Government, various state government and socio-political leaders from all communities of India are trying to maintain a law and order,” he said.
People shared their reaction on Facebook as well, Sunil Ganu , BJP supporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area said “Finally the Judgement is out on Ayodhya. Court confirmed Mandir Vahi Banega!.
Here are the 10 salient points from the SC verdict:
* The apex court ruled that Hindus will get the disputed land subject to conditions. The 2.77-acre complex will be handed over to the trust, which has to be formed within three months. The management of of the temple construction will be monitored by the trust. The Centre must appoint a board of trustees within three months.
* Muslims will get alternative land of 5 acres for the construction of a mosque. The apex court ruled that Muslims couldn’t prove exclusive possession of the inner courtyard, which was in contention, while the outer courtyard was in exclusive possession of the Hindus.
* The SC held that the Allahabad High Court was wrong to divide the land between the three main parties — Ram Lalla Virajman, Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Waqf Board — as the complex was a composite whole.
* The landmark verdict was read out by a five-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and also comprising CJI-designate S.A. Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer.
* CJI Ranjan Gogoi, who retires on November 17, decided the date of the verdict in consultation with the four other judges after 40 days of daily hearing, making it the second longest hearing in the top court.
* Under Article 142, the SC directed, in the scheme to be framed, Nirmohi Akhara, an order of ascetics, will also get representation. The Akhara’s suit, one of the main parties in the case, was dismissed as the bench held that it was barred by limitation. The SC also rejected that Nirmohi Akhara is a shebait (manager) of the complex. “Land to remain vested in statutory receiver till trust is formed,” ruled the court.
* The five-judge bench unanimously rejected the Shia Waqf Board petition, claiming that the rights on the Babri Masjid on the disputed land in Ayodhya were over that of the Sunni Waqf Board.
* The Supreme Court said that the 2003 Archaeology Survey of India’s (ASI) report can’t be dismissed as conjecture or just a guess work and junked the theory of pre-existence of an Idgah at the disputed site. “Babri mosque wasn’t constructed on a vacant land. An underlying structure did exist,” it said.
* The apex court also said that the underlying structure was not of Islamic religion. Artefacts, architectural evidence had distinct non-Islamic nature, said CJI Gogoi. At the same time, the top court also said, “But ASI report hasn’t said the underlying structure was a specific temple.”
* The apex court said that Hindus consider Ayodhya as the birthplace of Lord Ram. “Faith of Hindus is undisputed that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya,” ruled the court. Faith, the judgement read, is a matter of individual belief.
[With inputs from IANS]