NEW DELHI: All eyes will be on the Supreme Court today as the five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi will deliver the verdict in the decades-old Ramjanambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case. The bench will pronounce the verdict on the 14 appeals filed before the Supreme Court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment trifurcating the disputed 2.77 acres among the three main parties. The 40 days of hearing by CJI Gogoi-led bench witnessed a lot of drama and finally ended on October 16. Here’s a look at the three main parties to the dispute and their main arguments before the apex court:
One of the two main Hindu parties, the Nirmohi Akhara in 1959, filed a title suit seeking direction to hand over to it the charge of the disputed site, claiming to be its custodian.The Akhara’s key contentions are that it should retain the right to serve the deity, permission to construct a Ram temple at the disputed site should be given and that the Nirmohi Akhara should be given the rights to manage the premises once the temple has been built.
It further argued that in case the court decides to uphold the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict and the Muslim parties say they won’t make any construction at the disputed site, the court should instruct the Muslim parties to give their share of the land to the Hindu parties on a long-term lease so that a grand Ram temple can be built. The Akhara also urged the court to order the government to provide land to the Muslim side to construct a mosque outside the dispute area.
Ram Lalla Virajman
Ram Lalla Virajman, through next friend (former Allahabad HC judge) Deoki Nandan Agrawal, filed a lawsuit in 1989, seeking title right over the entire disputed property on the grounds that the land itself has the character of the deity and of a “juristic entity”.
The counsels for Ram Lalla Virajman contended that the court should give the entire disputed land to Ram Lalla and no part of the disputed land should be given to the Nirmohi Akhara or the Muslim parties.
Sunni Waqf Board
The UP Sunni Central Waqf Board filed a suit for possession of the site in 1961. The Board had demanded that the Babri Masjid should be restored to its form before it was destroyed on December 6, 1992.
SC verdict will not be a matter of victory or loss. My appeal to countrymen is it should be our priority that the verdict should strengthen India’s great tradition of peace, unity and amity Narendra Modi, Prime Minister.
Longest running land dispute
Babri Masjid built by Mir Baqi, commander of Mughal emperor Babur.
Mahant Raghubir Das files plea in Faizabad district court seeking permission to build a canopy. Court rejects the plea.
Idols of Ram Lalla placed under central dome outside the disputed structure.
Gopal Simla Visharad files suit in Faizabad district court for rights to worship the idols of Ram Lalla.
P R Das files suit for continuation of worship and keeping the idols.
Nirmohi Akhara files suit seeking possession of the site.
UP Sunni Central Waqf Board files suit for possession of the site.
Feb 1, 1986
Local court orders the government to open the site for Hindu worshippers.
Aug 14, 1989
Allahabad HC orders maintenance of status quo in respect of the disputed structure.
Dec 6, 1992
Babri Masjid demolished.
April 3, 1993
‘Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act’ passed for acquiring land by Centre in the disputed area.
Various writ petitions, including one by Ismail Faruqui, filed in Allahabad HC challenging various aspects of the Act.
SC exercising its jurisdiction under Article 139A transferred the writ petitions, which were pending in the High Court.
Oct 24, 1994
SC says in historic Ismail Faruqui case mosque was not integral to Islam.
HC begins hearing on determining who owns the disputed site.
Mar 13, 2003
SC says, in the Aslam alias Bhure case, no religious activity be allowed at the acquired land.
Sep 30, 2010
HC, in a 2:1 majority, rules three-way division of disputed area
May 9, 2011
SC stays HC verdict on Ayodhya land dispute.
Mar 21, 2017
CJI JS Khehar suggests an out-of-court settlement
Supreme Court constitutes a three-judge bench to hear pleas challenging 1994 verdict of the Allahabad High Court.
Feb 8, 2018
Supreme Court starts hearing the civil appeals.
Supreme Court reserves verdict.
SC declines to refer the case to a five-judge Constitution bench. Case to be heard by a newly constituted three-judge bench on October 29.
SC fixes the case before an appropriate bench to decide the schedule of hearing.
SC decides to take up petitions on case for hearing on January 4, 2019.
Jan 8, 2019
Supreme Court sets up a five-judge Constitution Bench to hear the case headed by CJI
3-member mediation committee submits interim report in Supreme Court.
SC commences day-to-day hearing on the land dispute.
SC says it will wrap up hearing on Oct 17
SC reserves order