The Five judge bench of the Supreme Court has pronounced the judgment in Ayodhya case today.
The court has held that the entire disputed land of 2.77 acres in Ayodhya must be handed over for the construction of Ram Mandir. At the same time, the Court held that an alternate plot of 5 acres must be allotted to the Sunni Waqf Board for the construction of the mosque, reports LiveLaw.in.
The Court observed that the destruction of the Babri mosque in 1992 was a violation of the law. The Central Government has been directed to formulate a scheme in this regard within three months. A Board of Trustees must be set up for the construction of the temple.
The following are the key observations made in the 1045 page long unanimous judgment.
The court observed that suits filed by Sunni Central Waqf Board and the deity Bhagwan Shri Ram Virajman will have to be decreed and the relief moulded in a manner which preserves the constitutional values of justice, fraternity, human dignity and the equality of religious belief.
Reliefs granted in Suit filed by Deity
The suit filed by the deity Bhagwan Shri Ram Virajman through a next friend for a declaration of title to the disputed premises and to restrain the defendants from interfering with or raising any objection to the construction of a temple has been decreed as follows:
i) The Central Government shall, within a period of three months from the date of this judgment, formulate a scheme pursuant to the powers vested in it under Sections 6 and 7 of the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act 1993. The scheme shall envisage the setting up of trust with a Board of Trustees or any other appropriate body under Section 6. The scheme to be framed by the Central Government shall make necessary provisions in regard to the functioning of the trust or body including on matters relating to the management of the trust, the powers of the trustees including the construction of a temple and all necessary, incidental and supplemental matters;
(ii) Possession of the inner and outer courtyards shall be handed over to the Board of Trustees of the Trust or to 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 above directions;
(iii) Possession of the disputed property shall continue to vest in the statutory receiver under the Central Government, until in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 6 of the Ayodhya Act of 1993, a notification is issued vesting the property in the trust or other body.
The court has also invoked Article 142 of the Constitution, to direct that in the scheme to be framed by the Central Government, appropriate representation may be given in the Trust or body, to the Nirmohi Akhara in such manner as the Central Government deems fit.
Directions regarding Alternate Site For Mosque
Simultaneously, with the handing over of the disputed property to the Trust or body under clause 2 above, a suitable plot of land admeasuring 5 acres shall be handed over to the Sunni Central Waqf Board, the plaintiff in Suit 4.
The land shall be allotted either by (a) The Central Government out of the land acquired under the Ayodhya Act 1993; or (b) The State Government at a suitable prominent place in Ayodhya; The Central Government and the State Government shall act in consultation with each other to effectuate the above allotment in the period stipulated.
The Sunni Central Waqf Board would be at liberty, on the allotment of the land to take all necessary steps for the construction of a mosque on the land so allotted together with other associated facilities;
Suit 4 shall stand decreed to this extent in terms of the above directions;
The directions for the allotment of land to the Sunni Central Waqf Board in Suit 4 are issued in pursuance of the powers vested in this Court under Article 142 of the Constitution
There is clear evidence to indicate that the worship by the Hindus in the outer courtyard continued unimpeded in spite of the setting up of a grill-brick wall in 1857. Their possession of the outer courtyard stands established together with the incidents attaching to their control over it.
As regards the inner courtyard, there is evidence on a preponderance of probabilities to establish worship by the Hindus prior to the annexation of Oudh by the British in 1857. The Muslims have offered no evidence to indicate that they were in exclusive possession of the inner structure prior to 1857 since the date of the construction in the sixteenth century
Three-way bifurcation by the High Court was legally unsustainable
Three-way bifurcation by the High Court was legally unsustainable. Even as a matter of maintaining public peace and tranquillity, the solution which commended itself to the High Court is not feasible. The disputed site admeasures all of 1500 square yards. Dividing the land will not subserve the interest of either of the parties or secure a lasting sense of peace and tranquillity
On Allotment of alternate land to Muslims
The allotment of land to the Muslims is necessary because though on a balance of probabilities, the evidence in respect of the possessory claim of the Hindus to the composite whole of the disputed property stands on a better footing than the evidence adduced by the Muslims, the Muslims were dispossessed upon the desecration of the mosque on 22/23 December 1949 which was ultimately destroyed on 6 December 1992. There was no abandonment of the mosque by the Muslims. This Court in the exercise of its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution must ensure that a wrong committed must be remedied. Justice would not prevail if the Court were to overlook the entitlement of the Muslims who have been deprived of the structure of the mosque through means which should not have been employed in a secular nation committed to the rule of law. The Constitution postulates the equality of all faiths. Tolerance and mutual co-existnce nourish the secular commitment of our nation and its people.