SC verdict balanced, says Ram Lalla counsel: Waqf Board to seek review
GN Bureau | November 9, 2019
A resolution to the long-pending dispute which has to an extent shaped the recent history of India was in sight as the supreme court on Saturday paved the way for the construction of a temple at the disputed site where the Babri Mosque stood for long but is held to be Lord Ram's birth place.
A five-judge bench headed by the chief justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, gave a unanimous judgment after months of daily hearings. The apex court allotted the disputed plot of land to the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust for temple construction, and directed the government to allot a five-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building afresh a mosque.
The bench, also comprising justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, said in a 906-page verdict the possession of the 2.77 acre land rights will be handed over to the Ram Lalla, one of the three litigants. The land possession, however, will remain with a central government receiver.
It directed for the construction of the mosque at a “prominent site” and also for formation of a trust within three months for the construction of the temple.
While CS Vaidyanathan, counsel for deity Ram Lalla, termed the verdict as very balanced and a victory of people, Zafaryab Jilani of UP Sunni Central Waqf Board – one of the litigants – said there were a lot of contradictions in the judgment and they would seek a review.
Hindus believe the disputed site in Ayodhya, in Faizabad of Uttar Pradesh, is the birthplace of Lord Ram. The Babri mosque came up at the site in 16th century, allegedly by destroying a Ram temple. In 20th century, amid strained ties, various Hindu groups started claiming rights to the site and calling for the construction of a Ram temple there.
It was in the 1980s that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the BJP organised nationwide campaigns to push the demand. On December 6, 1992, Hindu activists assembled at the site for a ‘kar seva’ started attacking the mosque and razed much of it to ground within the day.
The event, considered a watershed in the history of independent India, triggered communal violence in many parts of the country. The site was then placed under the control of the government.
Ahead of the verdict, the government has now taken precautions to avoid any untoward incidents given the sensitive history of the case. Various states, especially Uttar Pradesh, issued prohibitory orders ahead of the verdict.
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