Oral and documentary evidence suggested that the Hindus had historically worshipped the inner courtyard — on which the now-demolished masjid once stood — as the birthplace of Lord Rama, the court said. The core of the dispute was about the legal title of the small inner courtyard (an area of 2.77 acres) on which the Babri Masjid once stood. Many Hindus have claimed that birthplace of Lord Rama was in the courtyard, under the central dome of the mosque.
“All evidence indicates that a reasonable inference based on a preponderance of probabilities can be made that there was continuum of faith and belief of the Hindus that the garbh griha was the place of birth of Lord Ram both prior to and after the construction of the wall,” the court said.
The British put a wall between the inner and the outer courtyard to reduce hostilities between the two sides, but the Hindus continued to pray at the side of the railing towards the garbh griha, the court said.
Though the Hindus continued to worship at the Ram Chabutra in the outer courtyard, the consistent pattern of their worship including the making of offerings to the Garbh Griha while standing at the railing, indicated their belief that it was the birth place of Lord Ram, the court said. “… there can be no manner of doubt that this was in furtherance of their belief that the birthplace of Lord Ram was within the precincts of and under the central dome of the mosque.”
On the outer courtyard, the court said, that the use of the area within the railing by the Muslims was contentious and their access to the inner courtyard was landlocked; the only access being through the two gates to the outer portion and the area which were in the control of the Hindus. “There is clear evidence to indicate the worship by the Hindus in the outer courtyard continued unimpeded in spite of the setting up of a grill-brick wall in 1857. Their possession of the outer courtyard stands established….” as per the judgment.
There is evidence to establish worship by the Hindus prior to the annexation of Oudh by the British in 1857. The Muslims have offered no evidence to indicate that they were in exclusive possession of the inner structure prior to 1857, since the mosque’s construction in the 16th century.
The five-judge bench also ruled, in a unanimous verdict, that the UP Sunni Central Wakf Board would get five acres to build a mosque either in the surplus land area around the disputed structure or elsewhere in a suitable, prominent place. This was a reparation of sorts for the legal wrongs done to the community. “Justice would not prevail if the court were to overlook the entitlement of the Muslims who have been deprived of the… mosque through means which should not have been employed in a secular nation committed to rule of law. The Constitution postulates the equality of all faiths. Tolerance and mutual co-existence nourish the secular commitment of our nation and its people.”
The central government had acquired the surplus 67 acres in and around the disputed structure in the immediate aftermath of the December 6, 1992, demolition.
The disputed land, measuring 2.77 acres, will stay for now with a receiver till the central government sets up within 3 months a trust or any other body to take over its management and control. Nirmohi Akhara has been ousted as the sebait of the temple at the disputed site and will now be only a member of the trust among many others. Mere presence or possession is not sufficient to be vested with the powers of a shebait, SC said. No evidence has been produced to show exercise of management rights by the Akhara.
Commitment to Secularism
The bench also reminded the state of its obligation to enforce its commitment to secularism, in a hint to the government to rein in elements which may rake up similar disputes at Mathura and Kashi in the wake of the Ayodhya ruling by implementing the Places of Worship Act which freezes places of worship in India as they existed in 1947.
“Historical wrongs cannot be remedied by the people taking the law in their own hands. In preserving the character of places of public worship, Parliament has mandated in no uncertain terms that history and its wrongs shall not be used as instruments to oppress the present and the future,” the court said.
The court said this while striking down parts of HC judgment, which had diluted the 1991 law. The bench also refused to declare the janmasthan as a juristic person although it conceded that the deity itself could be given such a status. In its first reaction to the ruling, the Akhara said that it would await the consultative process with the government to discuss appropriate representation in the new trust. “At the same time, the lawyers will study the judgment in detail and then decide how to proceed legally.”
Sunni Waqf Board chairman Zafar Faruqi on his part said that the Board may not challenge the ruling though that may not be the final word on the subject. The Allahabad High Court had in 2010 ordered a three-way division of the land to declare that the Hindus would get two thirds and the UP Sunni Central Wakf Board one-third of the disputed land.
Under the HC ruling, the Ram Lalla was to get the inner courtyard while the Ram Chabutra and the Sita Rasoi, would go to the Akhara. The Board was to get land after all adjustments for entry and exit for all parties.
The top court bench, which also comprised CJI-designate SA Bobde, and Justices Ashok Bhushan, DY Chandrachud and S Abdul Nazeer, dubbed the HC order as devoid of logic. The High Court was not dealing with a partition suit, it said, but a title suit. “Even as a matter of maintaining public peace and tranquillity, the solution which commended itself to the High Court is not feasible.”
“The disputed site admeasures all of 1,500 square yards. Dividing the land will not subserve the interest of either of the parties or secure a lasting sense of peace and tranquillity.”
The bench said that religious beliefs were beyond the ken of courts in a modern constitutional system, refusing to examine the faith and belief issues invoked by both sides. The court cannot adopt a position that accords primacy to the faith and belief of a single religion, it said. “From Shahid Gunj to Ayodhya, in a country like ours where contesting claims over property by religious communities are inevitable, our courts cannot reduce questions of title, which fall firmly within the secular domain and outside the rubric of religion, to a question of which community’s faith is stronger.” The bench said the ASI finding that there was a Hindu religious structure under the Babri Masjid was also not enough to rule in their favour.
Instead, the court said, it would go by the length and extent of use of the disputed area to take a call on the title suit. The court also rejected a claim by the Shias to the land.
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57 Comments on this Story
abe c352 days ago
What were muslims there or then expected to do either for Babar or lord Ram both hail from ancient cities except for reason
even as shown an alleged move to kill Ishmael on Almighty''s intent lest misjudjed would legally impute latter to save a nation
hence formed believe it or not from here to eternal damnation hope don''t befall on account of State simply now put in charge
.... so footworks close Allah''bad court''s opinion impressed by odd brilliance of some judge post retirement said hindus faiths
had dated back several years like a factum sanctorium laid beneath mosque/s despite tied break prior to the Const. became
effective or beyond common laws yet Indians now must offer ablutions unlike infantile baptism with waters, bloods else fires
to signup assents for majority beliefs not equality beholds all legality lest belies trust Constitutionality mere sentiments choke
off breaths fed brains too as religiosity proved via ballots or worse bewares on anvils else rests feeling bitter bad judgement
on behalf of State to be caretaker/s only public to private temples for hinduism holier than any values upheld by all us People
.. ie. Indians as faiths need be fashioned by themselves not State any further your lordships but alone God''s preset Plans for
nature revealed to oneself as undergone of reformations for society nation nor warranted legal fictions to ballpark both inside
an over inflated city except anticipated catch culprits unless disappeared into thin airs
sonykuty Sundaramoorthy353 days ago
The Supreme Court judgment in the Ayodhya case, on Nov-9-2019 has observed “The evidence in respect of the possessory claim of the Hindus to the composite whole of the disputed property stands on a better footing than the evidence adduced by the Muslims”. I personally feel that a vital link is however missing in this for the Muslim side to have once and for all settled the position.
The term Easement is defined in Section 4 of the Indian Easements Act, 1882, which reads as "An easement is a right which the owner or occupier of certain land possesses as such, for the beneficial enjoyment of that land, to do and continue to do something, or to prevent and continue to prevent something being done, in or upon, or in respect of, certain other land not his own”.
Earlier on in 1528, when Babri Masjid was built by the Mughal emperor Babur, his legal status as the owner or occupier is not settled yet. If that land has been won by a war, then Babur became the owner who gets te rights of easement as the owner. If an occupier but does not get the right to alter or add the structures unless agreed to by the owner. Clearly the Hindu faith ruler would not have allowed the Masjid built over an earlier Hindu structure. The fact that idols have been cited in the structure means the structure was not a Masjid.
If there is no agreement by the owner, the status of Babar in 1528 to have constructed the Masjid was that of trespasser. The judgment in C/SA/208/2015 of Ahmadabad High Court records as “E] Trespasser: Although the phrase, "any person in possession" would apparently include a trespasser also, but it cannot be said that, he acts, "on behalf of" the real owner". Therefore, a trespasser cannot acquire the easement”.
Hence the evidence adduced by the Muslims needs to have established they took possession of the site (a) by war or (b) under specific concurrence from the owner to build upon (which is unlikely).
Arising from these, the gist of the Supreme court judgment can be sought for review only in it is proved that Babar became the owner in 1528 by an act of war. This may be socially embarrassing for the Muslims at this juncture. In its absence, Babar becomes a trespasser as of 1528 and the restitution by the Court in 2019 becomes an extraordinary gesture of secular goodwill.
Kumar Swapan353 days ago
Why you call it disputed land,it was never a disputed land.It was holly land of Hindus that Muslims took away.