More than two decades after it was destroyed by marauding Hindu mobs, the disputed land, where the historical Babri Masjid once stood, was awarded to Hindus by the Supreme Court for the construction of Ram temple. The apex court gave the disputed Ayodhya land to the Ramjanmabhoomi Trust and ordered that an alternative piece of land, which lies in a ‘suitable’ and ‘prominent’ place in Ayodhya be given to the Muslims to build a mosque.
The judgment, which was unanimous by the five-judge Bench, was read by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi this morning.
The judgement held the Hindu belief that the disputed site is the “birthplace of Lord Ram” is correct. It also said that the Sunni Waqf Board has not been able to prove adverse possession of the site, while there is evidence to show that Hindus worshipped at the premises of the mosque prior to 1857.
According to the apex court, there is adequate material in the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report to conclude that the “Babri Masjid was not constructed on vacant land. There was a structure underlying the disputed structure. The underlying structure was not an Islamic structure.”
A large chunk of the bench’s conclusions was derived from the findings of the controversial ASI report which held that the Babri Masjid was built over a non-Islamic, possibly Hindu, structure.
While the court accepted that “idols were placed in the mosque in 1949,” and that the masjid’s demolition was “an egregious violation of the rule of law”, yet, the apex court rewarded the land, to the very forces, which destroyed the masjid in 1992.
The apex court judgement came after 40 continuous days of hearings on a batch of petitions challenging Allahabad High Court’s order trifurcating the 2.77 acres of the disputed land at Ayodhya into three equal parts to Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara. A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices S.A. Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer conducted the hearings.
The Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was razed to the ground on December 6, 1992, by extremists Hindus, claiming that it was built on the site of a temple allegedly destroyed by Muslim rulers. The demolition of the medieval mosque, which was constructed under the rule of the first Mughal Emperor Babar, triggered religious riots in many parts of India that resulted in the death of more than 1000 people.
The dispute over the land has been going on for several decades, with both Hindu and Muslim groups claiming their right to it.