A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court formed to resolve the Ayodhya dispute paved the way to build a temple through central government-monitored trust and ruled that Muslims must get alternate land to build a mosque.
The court has given the central government 3 months to formulate a scheme for the trust that will make necessary regulations for the management of the trust.
The court said that until the trust takes over it, the possession of the property shall continue to be with the receiver.
It added that suitable land of 5 acres should be handed over to the Sunni Waqf Board. The directions for allotment of land to Muslims are issued under Article 142.
The pronouncement of judgment which lasted for more than 30 minutes, began with the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court dismissing the petition by a group of Shias claiming their rights to the disputed site.
The SC also said the Nirmohi Akhara suit was barred due to limitation. “Claim of Nirmohi Akhara only had intermittent charge of management rights,” it said.
Until Friday evening, there was no clarity on the date of the judgement apart from the fact that it would be delivered before CJI Ranjan Gogoi retires on November 17. However, the decision to pronounce the verdict on Saturday came after Justice Gogoi met top Uttar Pardesh officials reportedly to discuss the security arrangements. According to news reports, at least 12,000 security personnel have been deployed in Uttar Pradesh to ensure there are no cases of violence.
A 5-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, which includes Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, had reserved the judgement on October 16 after a marathon hearing of 40 days.
The history of the dispute dates way back to 1853 when the first incident of communal violence over the Ayodhya issue was recorded.
The case had been keenly contested in various courts since the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 and had been driving Indian politics in one way or the other.
The disputed land of more than 2.77 acres was claimed by both Hindus and Muslims. While Hindus have been seeking to build a Ram temple on the site claiming a temple did exist there before the mosque was built, Muslims claim that there was no evidence that a temple ever existed on the site.
In 2010, an Allahabad High Court order had split the land between the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla, the parties involved in the case, however, unsatisfied with the judgement, all three had moved the SC.
More than 2,000 people have been killed in the Hindu-Muslim riots that followed the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 by Hindu groups. more