The Ayodhya Dispute regarding construction of Ram Temple in the Supreme Court was the longest and the most controversial litigation in India. It was titled as M.Siddiq (D)Thr Lrs Vs. Mahant Suresh Das & Ors in Civil Appeal Nos.10866-10867of 2010. After a marathon hearing by five judges bench headed by Hon’ble Chief Justice of India Justice Ranjan Gogoi for 40 days continuously and exclusively, an historic verdict was delivered unanimously on November 9, 2019 which has put an end to all controversies in the matter as there is no higher forum available.
The Supreme Court has demonstrated its leadership on such an important issue of national importance. The judgment as per the Supreme Court is delivered purely from legal consideration and within the perimeter of the Constitution of India. This judgment is a landmark judicial pronouncement. At the same time, it is going to contribute immensely in creating social and communal harmony in India which will not only be the bulwark to the democratic and secular framework of India but will also help India to march towards progress and development. Let us examine the judgment.
Issues settled by the Supreme Court
Five issues or facts have been settled in the Supreme Court judgment. Firstly, it is purely a matter of title based on alleged adverse possession of Hindus for long. No namaz was offered on the disputed site till 1858. Thus, the dispute is over immovable property.
Secondly, the underlying structure which provided the foundations of the mosque together with its architectural features and recoveries are suggestive of a Hindu religious origin comparable to temple excavations in the region and pertaining to the twelfth century A.D.
Thirdly, the existence of an Islamic structure at a place considered sacrosanct by the Hindus did not stop them from continuing their worship at the place believed to be the birth-place of Lord Ram at the disputed site and within the precincts of the structure. It clearly indicated their open, exclusive and unimpeded possession of the outer courtyard. The alternate plea of adverse possession has not been established by the Sunni Central Waqf Board as it failed to meet the requirements of adverse possession.
Fourthly, the Supreme Court entertains right of idol Ramlala as a legal entity. And finally, the Supreme Court finds serious flaw in the entire approach of the High Court in granting relief of a three-way bifurcation of the disputed site.
Based on foregoing findings, the Supreme Court has arrived at following conclusions and actionable orders:-
1. On the balance of probabilities, there is clear evidence to indicate the possession of the outer courtyard of the Hindus. As regards to inner courtyard, there is evidence on a preponderance of probabilities to establish worship by the Hindus.
2. During the pendency of the suits, the entire structure of the mosque was brought down in a calculated act of destroying a peace of a public worship. The Muslims have been deprived of a mosque which had been constructed well over 450 years ago after demolition of the Hindu Temple of Lord Ram and palace by Emperor Babur as established by archaeological excavations and findings.
3. Suit 5 is maintainable at the behest of the plaintiff (the deity of Lord Ram) who is a juristic person.
4. The allotment of five acres of alternate land to the Muslims for the construction of a mosque and associated activities as they were wrongly disposed of the mosque on December 22 and 23, 1949 and finally on December 6,1992. This Court in the exercise of its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution of must ensure that a wrong committed must be remedied. The land shall be allotted by the central government out of the land acquired or by the State Government at a suitable prominent place in Ayodhya.
5. The central government is directed to frame a scheme in exercise of the powers conferred upon it by Section 6 and 7 of the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act 1993 to set up a trust or any other appropriate mechanism to whom the land would be handed over in terms of the decree in Suit 5 within three months from the date of judgment for construction of a temple and all necessary, incidental and supplemental matters.
6. Possession of the inner and outer courtyards shall be handed over to the Board of Trustees of the Trust or the body so constituted. The central government will be at liberty to make suitable provisions in respect of the rest of the acquired land by handing it over to the Trust or body for management and development in terms of the scheme framed in accordance with the directions in the order.
7. The Sunni Central Waqf Board would be at liberty, on the allotment of the land to take all steps for the construction of a mosque on the land so allotted together with other associated facilities.
8. Suit filed by Nirmohi Akhara is barred by limitation but Nirmohi Akhara may be included in the Trust.
9. The three–way bifurcation by the High Court is legally unsustainable.
After the Supreme Court Judgment
It is most likely that all parties will be satisfied with the judgment of the Supreme Court which has been delivered after lot of deliberations. The public has over the years reposed its faith in the Supreme Court and its impartiality and legal objectivity. Already the minority community barring a few exceptions, have come out in public states that they will accept the Supreme Court judgment. The Hindus have accepted the judgment with humility. Now, it is upon the Central Government to take the leadership to further consolidate the communal harmony and unity generated out of this judgment of the Apex Court by implementing this judgment in letter and spirit to the satisfaction of all connected parties and the public at large.
It is hoped that good sense will prevail among all concerned parties to accept the Supreme Court verdict to end this long pending dispute plaguing the country for a long time and allow the government and administration to take the country on the path of progress and prosperity with the active co-operation of all concerned.