NEW DELHI: The verdict in the long-standing Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, which put to end a decades-old dispute on Saturday, was about the ownership of 1,500 square yards or 0.3 acre of land and not 2.77 acres as is being extensively reported.
“These first appeals centred around a dispute between two religious communities, both of whom claim ownership over a piece of land measuring 1500 square yards in the town of Ayodhya,” the beginning of the over 1,000-page verdict reads. The opening part of the verdict also clearly states that the bench was adjudicating on the 0.3 acre in Ayodhya that was disputed.
The 0.3 acres in question housed the inner courtyard, Sita ki Rasoi and the outer courtyard. The Ram ka Chabutra was destroyed during the Babri demolition.
According to lawyers who fought the case, it was never about 2.77 acres. “The Supreme Court judgment has actually brought in more clarity on the portion of the land that was in dispute. It is just 1,500 square yards and one will realise it if he or she carefully reads the Allahabad High Court judgment. But no one in the media did fact checking and the figure of 2.77 acres was widely publicised. It never got corrected. We never argued in the case about 2.77 acres,” one of the lawyers who appeared for the Hindu parties said.
According to a senior bureaucrat, who was posted in Faizabad from 1991-94, the Kalyan Singh government in 1991 acquired 2.77 acres at the site to develop it for visiting pilgrims. “This was challenged in the Allahabad High Court and was set aside six days after the Babri demolition. From then the media has been reporting the figure of 2.77 acres,” he said.
The SC awarded 0.3 acre to the deity, Ram Lalla, and directed the Centre to allot five acres in Ayodhya for the construction of a mosque.
What about 2.47 acres?
What will happen to the remaining 2.47 acres? A senior lawyer said it was up to the trust that will be constituted by the Centre to take the call