New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Supreme Court, pronouncing the much-anticipated verdict in the Ayodhya land dispute, ruled on Saturday that an alternative land be given to Muslims while a trust be formed by the Centre to monitor the construction of a Hindu temple. 

"A suitable plot of land measuring 5 acres to be handed over to Sunni Waqf Board either by Central Government or State Government. Sunni Waqf Board at liberty to construct a mosque at the allotted land," said Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, in a unanimous judgment the five-judge Constitution bench. 

The bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, directed the Centre to formulate a scheme in three months to set up a board of trustees for construction of temple at the disputed structure. 

"The lands of our country have witnessed invasions and dissentions. Yet they have assimilated into the idea of India everyone who sought their providence, whether they came as merchants, travellers or as conquerors," said the verdict.

"The history and culture of this country have been home to quests for truth, through the material, the political, and the spiritual. This Court is called upon to fulfil its adjudicatory function where it is claimed the two quests for the truth impinge on the freedoms of the other or violate the rule of law," it said.

Delivering a unanimous judgement on a case that has long polarised the country and frayed the secular tapestry of Indian society, a five-judge bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said the faith of Hindus that Lord Ram was born at the site was undisputed, and he is symbolically the owner of the land.

Yet, it is also clear that the destruction of the 16th century three-domed structure by Hindu kar sevaks, who want to build a Ram temple there, was a wrong that "must be remedied," the ruling said.

Also Read | Ayodhya Verdict: From allotting alternative land to Muslims to decreeing disputed land to Hindus | Highlights

The verdict means that entire 2.77-acre disputed land has been given to Hindus for the construction of Ram Temple while Muslims have been given an alternative land of their choice for the construction of mosque.  

The apex court said the possession of the disputed 2.77 acre land rights will handed over to the deity Ram Lalla, who is one of the three litigants in the case. The possession however will remain with a central government receiver.

Reading out the verdict, the five-judge SC bench said that the underlying structure below the disputed site at Ayodhya was not an Islamic structure, but the ASI has not established whether a temple was demolished to build a mosque.

Also Read | Ayodhya Verdict: Temple at disputed site, alternate land for Muslims | SC ruling explained in 10 points

The bench further said that terming the archeological evidence as merely an opinion would be a great disservice to the Archaeological Survey of India.

The court also said that the Hindus consider the disputed site as the birthplace of Lord Ram and even Muslims say this about that place.

The faith of the Hindus that Lord Ram was born at the demolished structure is undisputed, the apex court said.
The bench said the existence of Sita Rasoi, Ram Chabutra and Bhandar grih are the testimony of the religious fact of the place.

The apex court, however, said that the title cannot be established on the ground of faith, belief and they are only an indicator for deciding the dispute.

The Supreme Court said the Hindus have established their case that they were in possession of outer courtyard and the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board has failed to establish its case in the Ayodhya dispute.

The apex court said the extensive nature of Hindus worshipping at outer courtyard at the disputed site has been there, and the evidence suggests the Muslims offered Friday prayers at mosque which indicates that they had not lost possession of the site.

Welcoming the verdict, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "The Supreme Court has delivered its verdict on the Ayodhya dispute. The decision should not be viewed as someone's victory of defeat. Ram bhakti or Rahim Bhakti, this is the time for us to strengthen the spirit of 'Bharat Bhakti'. I urge people to maintain peace and harmony.

Some more highlights of the SC verdict

* Under Article 142, the SC directed, in the scheme to be framed, Nirmohi Akhara, an order of ascetics, will also get representation. The Akhara’s suit, one of the main parties in the case, was dismissed as the bench held that it was barred by limitation. The Supreme Court also rejected that Nirmohi Akhara is a shebait (manager) of the complex. “Land to remain vested in statutory receiver till trust is formed,” ruled the Court.

The five-judge bench unanimously rejected the Shia Waqf Board petition, claiming rights on the Babri mosque on the disputed land in Ayodhya over that of the Sunni Waqf Board.

Hindus consider Ayodhya as birthplace of Lord Ram. Faith and belief of Hindus that Lord Ram was born under the inner dome. Faith of Hindus is undisputed that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya,” ruled the court. Faith, the judgement read, is a matter of individual believer.

A look back into the case

Fourteen appeals were filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties -- the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

Initially, as many as five lawsuits were filed in the lower court. The first one was filed by Gopal Singh Visharad, a devotee of ''Ram Lalla'', in 1950 to seek enforcement of the right to worship of Hindus at the disputed site.

In the same year, the Paramahansa Ramachandra Das had also filed the lawsuit for continuation of worship and keeping the idols under the central dome of the now-demolished disputed structure. The plea was later withdrawn.

Later, the Nirmohi Akahara also moved the trial court in 1959 seeking management and ''shebaiti'' (devotee) rights over the 2.77 acre disputed land.

Then came the lawsuit of the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Wakf Board which moved the court in 1961, claiming title right over the disputed property.

The deity, ''Ram Lalla Virajman'', through next friend and former Allahabad High Court judge Deoki Nandan Agrawal, and the Janmbhoomi (the birthplace) moved the lawsuit in 1989, seeking title right over the entire disputed property on the key ground that the land itself has the character of the deity and of a ''Juristic entity''.

Later, all the lawsuits were transferred to the Allahabad High Court for adjudication following the demolition of the disputed Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid structure on December 6, 1992, sparking communal riots in the country.

The apex court had on August 6 commenced day-to-day proceedings in the case as the mediation proceedings initiated to find the amicable resolution had failed. The bench on October 16 had reserved the judgement after a marathon hearing of 40 days.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta