NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Saturday held that the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, was "an egregious violation of the rule of law" and as a remedy, it directed the government to allot a separate 5 acres land for construction of the mosque.
A five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said "the destruction of the mosque took place in breach of the order of status quo and an assurance given to this Court". On August 14, 1989, the Allahabad High Court ordered maintenance of status quo in the disputed structure which was upheld by the top court on November 15, 1991.
But a violent mob on December 6, 1992 demolished Babri mosque, asserting that there existed an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Ram, which was demolished by a military commander of Mughal Emperor Babur.
Holding that a wrong committed must be remedied and exercising its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, the court directed that the Central Government or Uttar Pradesh government should allot land measuring 5 acres to the Sunni Central Waqf Board for construction of the mosque within Ayodhya.
Emphasising that Constitution postulates the equality of all faiths, it also said that "tolerance and mutual co-existence nourish the secular commitment of our nation and its people".
"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 court said.
But the court said that the existence of the structure of the mosque until December 6, 1992 does not admit any contestation.
"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 December 22-23 1949 which was ultimately destroyed on December 6 1992," it said.
The court also noted that Namaz (prayers) was offered on Fridays till December 1949 and last namaz was held on December 16, 1949. On the intervening night of December 22 -23 1949, two idols were placed inside the central dome of the Babri Masjid and the devotees claimed that the idols appeared miraculously on their own. In 1934, the walls and one of the domes of the Masjid were damaged during riots.
"The damage to the mosque in 1934, its desecration in 1949 leading to the ouster of the Muslims and the eventual destruction on December 6, 1992 constituted a serious violation of the rule of law," the court said.
The court, while ruling in favour of the construction of the temple, said that "the Hindus have established a clear case of a possessory title to the outside courtyard by virtue of long, continued and unimpeded worship at the Ramchabutra and other objects of religious significance".