This Case Summary is written by Masab Ahmed Maaz, a 3rd-year law student at the University Of Petroleum And Energy Studies, Dehradun
This case has one of the oldest origins in the history of the Indian legal system and has been in the spotlight of the entire nation for a long time. The case revolves around the religious sentiments of India’s two largest communities and their dispute over a piece of land in the ancient city of Ayodhya. In that case, the Hindu community claimed that the Babri Masjid built by Mughal Emperor Babur was built over the birthplace of Lord Ram. The first communal uprising in the disputed territory occurred in the 1850s, and the British colonial government built a section within the country to resolve the situation. In 1885, Mahant Raghubar Das filed a suit to build a Ram temple in the outer courtyard. The court rejected this plea to maintain peace and order.
FACTS OF THE CASE
On December 22, 1949, the Hindu community placed idols of Lord Ram in the Central Dome, sparking a communal fire that lasted for years. Following suits filed by both communities, the Faizabad Civil Court locked up the disputed area per Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. However, in 1986, the District Judge of Faizabad Court opened the gates and allowed the Hindu community to worship there. This decision culminated in the demolition of the Babri Masjid by the Karsewaks on December 6, 1992.
The Nirmohi Akhara filed the third suit in this case in 1959. They claimed to be in charge of the temple and its management. The Uttar Pradesh Suni Central Board of Waqf and other Muslims in Ayodhya filed the fourth suit in 1961. Finally, in 1989, the God himself, Bhagwan Ram Lalla Virajman, filed a suit through his next friend, former Justice Deoki Nandan Agarwal. He claimed ownership of the disputed site as well as an injunction.
The Case was transferred from the Civil Court in Faizabad to the Allahabad High Court in 1989. The High Court decided to divide the land into three sections: the inner courtyard for the Lord, the Ram Chabutra and Sita Rasoi for the Nirmohi Akhara, and the remainder for the Sunni Board. However, none of the parties were satisfied with the Court’s decision and thus filed Appeals and Special Leave Petitions with the Supreme Court.
According to the Hindu community, the Ram Janam Bhoomi existed previously and was destroyed by the Mughals after they conquered India, and then the Babri Masjid was built. On the other hand, the Muslims claimed that the mosque was built on a vacant plot of land by Mir Qasim, the General of Babur, per Babur’s orders. On the other hand, the Muslim community did not deny the existence of Ram Janam Bhoomi. They only stated that the Hindu community did not have a proprietary claim. According to the Nirmohi Akhara, the suit was filed in the capacity of the Shebat. A Shebait is a person who serves and manages the Deity and has complete control over the Deity’s property.
The Sunni Board’s main argument was that no deities existed in the area until the idols were placed in 1949. They claimed that they used to pray in the mosque regularly until 1949. Because they used the disputed property for a long time, it would be more advantageous to them. On the other hand, the Hindu community claimed that after Babur invaded their land, now known as India, he destroyed several temples, including the temple in Ayodhya. Since the Hindu community had to face the brutality of their invasion, it was only fair to right the wrongs of the past following the adoption of a constitutional form of just government. They claimed that the land title, which had existed since the twelfth century, would still be valid today. Evidence was presented, including a 1928 edition of the Faizabad Gazette. This gazette acknowledged the destruction of the ancient temple known as the Ram Janam Bhoomi by the Mughal ruler Babur. The Kasauti Pillar and other materials from the destroyed temple constructed the mosque. Even after the destruction, worshippers continued to worship Lord Ram through various symbols such as Sita Rasoi. The suit filed on behalf of the Deity was significant because it was necessary to represent the Lord himself rather than his followers. He would be more concerned with their interests rather than Lord Ram’s.
- Were the lawsuits filed by Nirmohi Akhara, Sunni Waqf Board, and the Deity himself barred by Indian limitation law?
- Whether Ram Janma Bhoomi could be recognized as a Juristic entity?
- Whether Was there a temple that existed in the disputed area? If so, would the Hindu community be entitled to it?
CONTENTION & JUDGEMENTS
No deities were installed in the Babri Masjid area until the idol was brought secretly on the night of December 22 and 23, 1949. The written statement denies the existence of any deity. Regular prayers were held in the mosque until 22 December 1949, and Friday prayers until 16 December 1949. The British government continued the grants made during Babur’s reign for the upkeep and maintenance of the mosque. Even in the absence of an express dedication, the prolonged use of the disputed site as a mosque for public worship elevates the property in question to waqf value. He claimed that namaz was offered in the mosque from its construction in 1528 until its desecration on 22-23. December 1949. As a result, the disputed property was a place of worship. For the plaintiffs
Several temples are said to have been destroyed during Babur’s invasion of India, including the one built by Vikramaditya at Ayodhya. He argued that the region now known as India was under foreign occupation during the Mughal era, and Hindus were not allowed to exercise their religious rights. With the adoption of the Constitution of India, the mistakes of the Mughals are likely to be rectified. It was also argued that because the deity’s land was inalienable, the title of the 13th century bearing deities were still legally enforceable. The Faizabad Gazetteer of 1928 supports the claim that the ancient temple known as the Ram Janmabhum temple was destroyed by Babur in 1528, and a mosque was built in its place largely from the materials of the destroyed temple, including the Kasaut pillars. However, devotees continued to worship Lord Ram through symbols such as Charan and Sita Rasoi and an idol of Lord Ram in Ramchabutras enclosure. There never was and never could be a valid waqf. Despite occasional crimes by Muslim residents, it has been established that deities who act as carriers have rights of property and ownership. You don’t say pray in a mosque. Proceedings under sec 145, in which the gods of the plaintiff were not parties. The deities were in possession, and all claims of ownership against the deities were void by adverse possession. Suit 5 was necessary because the Deity was not a party to the previous suits. Furthermore, based on the perception that the existing cases were about the personal interests of the leading parties without protecting the independent needs and concerns of Lord Ram’s Deity, well and truly established in the proceedings of the European Court.
The court went back in time to understand the arguments of both sides. The court said that the current legal system would recognize all previous rights and obligations if previous courts recognized them in some way. Our constitution even recognizes the existence of previous convictions. The Constitution declares that all laws in force before the adoption of the Constitution will remain in force even after the adoption of the Constitution.
The court emphasized that the British administration recognized and helped the Hindu community. This relief was due to the installation of the deities of Lord Ram in 1873. The court then dealt with adverse possession. First, adverse possession refers to the idea that anyone without title to a piece of land can acquire it through continued possession. According to the European Court, any basis for adverse possession is a combination of law and fact rather than law alone.
Since the Muslim community did not provide evidence of possession of the disputed territory between 1528 and 1860, they did not meet the essential elements of negative possession and thus could not claim it. The court further cited the landmark judgment of Ismail Faruqui in which the Supreme Court ruled that mosques are not an integral part of the Islamic religion.
To continue the discussion on the principles of religious secularism, the court referred to another decision of the Supreme Court. It has been noted that Indian secularism is not limited to passive religious tolerance. It also includes active steps to ensure that all religions are treated equally. The court found that the rights of the Muslim community were grossly violated. They felt that the demolition of Babri Masjid was against the rule of law and that violation must be corrected by all possible means.
In addition, the court noted that the claim of the fifth action as to whether Deity itself is a legal entity was rejected. The court rejected that argument and noted that when such property receives the status of a legal entity, the disputed property ceases to be immovable property.
Regarding the third lawsuit filed by Nirmohi Akhara, the court noted that the previous judge’s decision never mentioned their rights to the disputed property. Nirmohi Akhara has not provided any evidence for its claim. Their claim about the Temple as Shebait was also rejected because they did not claim that Deity was impossible. As the action was brought in their name, it was related to their interests. In sum, their actions were barred by the expiration of the statute of limitations.
The belief of the Hindu community that the disputed area is the site of Ram Janam Bhoomi was proven by the evidence mentioned in the Supreme Court’s annexure. After receiving reports from the Archaeological Survey of India, the court continued its demands that the Babri Masjid was not built on empty land but a structure built in the 12th century. Despite many disturbances, the Hindu community also refused to accept the demarcation and continued to worship in the disputed area. As a result, the Hindus held this title when they instituted continuous and uninterrupted worship.
The court decided to give the disputed 2.77 acres of land to the Hindus and, at the same time, 5 acres of the mosque land to the Muslim community to uphold the secular commitment of our nation to its people and to compensate the Muslim community for the illegal destruction of the. Mosque
There comes a time when reconciliation and resolution outweigh the desire to eliminate injustice. Apparently, the Supreme Court has chosen the direction that best promotes social unity by allowing a temple to come up at the disputed site in Ayodhya through a government-mandated fund.
The court asked for reservation of a five-acre plot elsewhere in Ayodhya that could be used for a modern mosque to replace Muslim rights parties fired for unconstitutionally demolishing the century-old Babri Masjid. Clearly, there is more political reconciliation, moral compensation and less judgment to protect their religious rights.
With a divided political climate, the ultimate prize remains a source of concern for everyone for whom the solution lies in more than maintaining stability. Still, they agreed, the most welcome issue in the five-judge court’s 1,045-page decision. Because it sends the message that the judges fought with one eye to ensure a legal burial for a long dispute that started as a small dispute, developed into a political point of contention and was a festering body-politic wound for years. The fact that the case is effectively closed would greatly help all citizens who value justice.
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