In its much awaited verdict, the Supreme Court Constitution bench today directed that the disputed land in Ayodhya goes to the Hindus in its entirety for the construction of Ram Mandir. The Sunni Waqf Board will get five acres of alternate land, which will be accorded either by the state or the Centre.
The Constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer said in its judgement that Centre will hand over the disputed site to the Board of trustees within 3 months and the management of construction of the temple is to be monitored by the trust.
The Supreme Court junked the theory of pre-existence of an Idgah at the disputed site. The SC held that the ASI report that held that there was a structure underneath the Babri Masjid can’t be dismissed as conjecture or just a guess work and junks 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.” The SC said that the underlying structure was not of Islamic religion as artefacts, architectural evidence had distinct non Islamic nature. ASI report can be lent credence to the underlying structure was dated 12th century, the SC says. But it adds that the ASI report hasn’t said the underlying structure was a specific temple.
The Supreme Court said that the travellogues also evidenced age-old belief that Lord Ram was born there. “Gazateers can also provide corroborative materials.”
“It is clearly established that while Muslims offered prayers inside the inner courtyard, the same was done by Hindus in the outer court yard. Prior to 1856-57, there was no exclusion of Hindus from praying there. Exodus of Hindus from the inner courtyard remained contentious too. They continued to worship at Ram Chabutara and they worshipped the Garbh GiRja from the railings,” said the SC. For 325 years, from the construction of the mosque till 1857, Muslims have given no evidence of offering prayers at the disputed structure in exclusion of Hindus, it says. Destruction of the mosque in 1992 was in breach of SC order, said CJI-led bench.
The Supreme Court said that the Hindus consider Ayodhya as the birthplace of Lord Ram and the faith of Hindus is undisputed. “Faith is a matter of individual believer. Once the court has the material that the faith is genuine, the court must not interfere and acknowledge it. Value of a secular Constitution lies in mutual deference.”
The Supreme Court judges also unanimously dismissed the Shia Waqf Board’s petition claiming rights on the Babri mosque on the disputed land in Ayodhya.