Case Summary

AYODHYA BABRI MASJID DISPUTE

Facts:

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Rama was born on the Sarayu river banks, which in present-day is a place identified in Uttar Pradesh. According to Hindu beliefs, a temple stood at the birthplace of Lord Rama, which was demolished in 1528 by Mughal emperor Babur who then constructed the Babri Masjid there. Again in 1992, kar sevaks blazed the mosque to the ground. The disputed land measured 2.77 Acres.

In 1885, Mahant Raghubar Das filed a suit to build a temple on the Ramchabutra. In 1934, some parts of the mosque were damaged due to a struggle between the Hindu and Muslim communities. Then in December 1949, idols of Lord Ram were forcefully placed in the central dome resulting in a desecration of the mosque. A suit is later filed by Nirmohi Akhara in 1959, asking for possession of the site. A lawsuit is filed by Sunni Central Board of Waqf in 1961, claiming ownership.

In 1984, Vishwa Hindu Parishad(VHP) started a campaign for the construction of Ram Mandir at the site. In 1989, the foundations of Ram Mandir were laid down by the VHP after getting permission from the Rajiv Gandhi government. On December 6, 1992, the Babri Masjid was destroyed entirely. Hearings in High Court started in April 2002 to ascertain the ownership. On 30 September 2010, it was ruled by the Allahabad HC that the land should be divided into three parts- one third to Ram Lalla Virajman, which was represented by the Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha; one third to the Sunni Waqf Board and the remaining to the Nirmohi Akhara. The case is then taken to the SC by the parties in December. The judgment finally came in November 2019.

Question of law

  • Was the claim of the parties barred by limitation?
  • Who had ownership and title over the property?
  • Law of adverse possession applicable equally to the Hindu and the Muslims?
  • Can idols and idol worship places be considered as juristic entities?

Held

  • Based on the oral and written evidence presented, it was concluded that Babri Masjid was built on Janmaasthan of Lord Ram.
  • The disputed property would be treated as a single composite unit instead of the three portions split by the Allahabad High Court ruling in 2010.
  • A trust would be set up under Section 6 of the Ayodhya Dispute Act with the Board of Trustees or any other suitable body. Its working and management would be determined by the scheme framed by the Central government.
  • The disputed property would be handed to the Trust or the body as per the above clause, and 5 acres of land would be given to the Plaintiff, Sunni Central Waqf Board.
  • The ownership claim of the Shia Waqf Board was rejected.
  • Another piece of land will be given to the Muslims as per article 142
  • The Plaintiff has the right to worship at the disputed property subject to restrictions imposed to maintain peace and order. 

Submitted By: Shreya khandelwal

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