The unanimous 5-judge verdict delivered today in the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya case is not just a landmark, but also brings to close a long-standing dispute over the birthplace of Lord Ram. In the verdict, neither Hindus or Muslims have won or lost; it is India and Indians who have won.
The verdict delivered by out-going Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi is a fine craftmanship and came close to what the mediation team had suggested.
The judges have ruled that the disputed land in Ayodhya will go to the Hindus to build a temple and the Muslims will get five acres of land in Ayodhya to build a Grand Mosque.
The Centre has been mandated to frame a scheme under which it will constitute a trust within three months and hand over the inner and outer courtyard to a trust to build the temple.
This is probably the best possible judgement given the complications in the case. The bench has delivered a fair judgment though there may be murmurs.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board said it was unhappy with the verdict, but appealed for peace and harmony.
The Sunni Wakf Board will now be granted 5 acres of land in “suitable, prominent place in Ayodhya” to build a mosque.
The bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, further said that Ram Janmbhoomi is not a juristic person.
The judgement comes on a historic day. It was on this day a few years ago that the Silanyas of the idols of Lord Ram was held; the Sikhs got the Kartapur passage to visit the historic place in Pakistan were Guru Nanak was born and it was on this day that the Berlin Wall fell.
Here are the major observations made by the Supreme Court in the case:
* It has to be noted that the judgment was unanimous. There was a Muslim judge on the bench.
* Title cannot be established on ground of faith, belief; they are kind of indicator for deciding dispute. But faith has to be respected.
* Extensive nature of Hindus worshipping at outer courtyard at site has been there.
* Can’t reject ASI report as conjectural.
* ASI report leads to conclusion that Babri mosque was not constructed on vacant land.
* There was underlying structure and it was not Islamic in nature. Artefacts recovered have a distinct non-Islamic nature.
* Supreme Court upholds the view that there was a 12th-century structure.
* Faith is a matter of individual believer…No evidence has come on record to discount the belief of Hindus in the place.
* Notes that there were places of birth identified in close proximity to the disputed land.
* SC accepts the HC view that idols were placed inside the central dome of Babri Masjid on Dec 22-23, 1949 night.
* The existence of Sita Rasoi, Ram Chabutra and Bhandar Grih are the testimony of the religious fact of the place.
* Nirmohi Akhara suit barred by limitation and dismissed. Sunni Wakf Board within limitation. Ramlalla Virajman suit is within the limitation period.
* Centre to frame scheme under which it will constitute a trust within three months and hand over inner and outer court to trust.
* SC grants entire 2.77 acre of disputed land in Ayodhya to deity Ram Lalla.
* Balance of probabilities show Hindus continued to worship uninterrupted in outer courtyard despite putting up brick wall at site. Muslims unable to prove they were in exclusive possession of inner courtyard.
* Nirmohi Akhara should be granted representation in trust to be constituted by Govt.
* SC holds that Nirmohi Akhara is not the shebait. Also says Ramjanmabhoomi is not a juristic person.
* SC Dismisses SLP by Shia Central Wakf Board.