NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court, while paving the way on Saturday for the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, took note of the testimonies of various witnesses examined by the counsel for deity 'Ram Lalla" during the hearings.
A 5-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, ascertained the "areas of dispute" by critically examining the variations in testimonies of Hindu and Muslim witnesses in the vexatious legal dispute.
Analysing the depositions of 19 witnesses examined by the counsel for the deity, the apex court said that certain facts with regard to areas of dispute can be gleaned.
"Hindus consider Ayodhya as the birth-place of Lord Ram. Hindu Shastras and religious scriptures refer to it being a place of religious significance. The faith and belief of the Hindus is that Lord Ram was born inside the inner sanctum or 'Garbh Grih' right below the central dome of the three-domed structure," said the bench which also comprised Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.
"What Muslims call the Babri mosque, the Hindus consider as the Ram Janmbhoomi or the birth-place of Lord Ram," it said.
"The faith and belief of the Hindus that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya is undisputed. Muslim witnesses also stated that Hindus have faith and belief in the existence of the Janmasthan," it said.
Both Hindu and Sunni witness testimonies indicate that the disputed site was being used for offering worship by devotees of both faiths, it said.
The apex court, in its 1,045-page verdict, said: "Second, there are variations in regard to the statements of the Hindu witnesses on whether and, if so the nature of the prayers, that were offered inside the inner sanctum prior to 22-23 December 1949.
"According to the Muslim witnesses, no prayers were being offered inside the three-domed structure by the Hindus."
The third area of dispute was that there was a "variation between the statements of the Hindu and Muslim witnesses on whether namaz was offered inside the three-domed structure of the mosque between 1934 and 1949.
" Muslim witnesses had consistently deposed that namaz was being offered and that the last Friday prayers were offered on 22 December 1949, it said.
On the other hand, according to the Hindu witnesses, no Muslim offered prayers at the three-domed structure and if anyone ventured near the premises, they were made to leave out of the fear of the sadhus and Bairagis in the neighbourhood, it said.