About the Law the Ayodhya Verdict by Supreme Court: Key Points
Supreme Court Ayodhya Verdict
9 November 2019 is a remarkable date on which the Ayodhya verdict was passed by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India, putting an end to the 27 years long vexed dispute regarding the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
Previously in 2010, the Allahabad High Court had passed a judgement dividing the property into three parts allotting 1/3rd each to the Hindus, the Muslims and Nirmohi Akhara. However, the Supreme Court through its verdict modified the Allahabad High Court judgement and passed the final verdict in favour of the Hindus and prohibited any interference in any form from the Muslims in the implementation of the judgement passed.
How the decision on the Ayodhya dispute was taken
While passing the judgement, the Supreme Court reminded that this decision is about such a dispute the sources of which are as old as the origin of India.
The flame of dispute arose even before the demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6 December 1992.
The dispute first arose publicly during the British period in 1885. During that period, the District Court of Faziabad passed an order stating that it was unfortunate that the Masjid was built on the land sacred for the Hindus, but as it had been built in 1528, the process was too late to alter.
The fire of public dispute was suppressed for about 150 years, which got triggered by the demolition of the disputed Babri Masjid that was followed by communal riots and massacres.
This time, the communal conflict took a different turn and the Supreme Court referred to the accounts from travellers Tieffenthaler and Montogomery Martin for deciding the matter. It also examined the witnesses from both sides.
The Supreme Court observed that the Muslims started opposing the religious activities of the Hindus on the concerned lands from 1856. The obstruction in worship resulted in the riot in 1934 despite the grill wall built by the British when the order was passed in March 1886.
The Court accepted the fact that religious practice was continued by the Muslims on the land till 16 December 1949.
In the process of examining the evidence, the Supreme Court concentrated on a report by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which stated that they have found remains of such buildings on that land, beneath the demolished Babri Masjid, that is not an Islamic structure.
Considering all the evidence produced, the Court determined that the disputed land must be allotted to the Hindus and no hindrance should be created in the way of building the Ram temple, whereas, the Muslims would be given a separate land for building the mosque.
Judges who took the decisions
A five-judge bench led by the then Chief Justice of India Rajan Gogoi decided the matter. The other members of the bench were Justices Sharad A. Bobde (present Chief Justice of India), Ashok Bhusan, D.Y. Chandrachud and S. Abdul Nazeer.
Reaction to the Ayodhya judgement passed by the Supreme Court of India
19 review petitions were filed against the judgement passed by the five-judges bench.
The main petitioners for review
One of the petitioners, the president of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, Maulana Syed Ashhad, claimed the judgement was partial towards several illegalities caused by the Hindus mainly in 1934 by damaging the main domes of the Babri Masjid, in 1949 during the duration of the Masjid and in 1992 by the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
Around 40 more petitioners claimed this judgement would have a negative impact on the secular mindset among Indians. The main petitioner for this claim were - Irfan Habib, Harsh Mandar, Jayati Ghosh, Sabnam Hashmi, Nandini Sundar and John Dayal.
The review petitions were dismissed by the five judges bench led by the incumbent CJI Sharad A. Bobde.
The Places of Worship (Special Provision) Act 1991
It was argued by several analysts that the judgement passed by the Apex Court did not involve the relevant facts of the Places of Worship Act, 1991.
The said Act aims to prohibit the conversion of any place of worship, by securing the status of a religious place how it existed at the time of independence, i.e. on 15 August 1947.
However, Justice Sharma of the Allahabad High Court, while passing the judgement in 2010, had observed that "The fact that Ram Janambhumi is an integral part of Hindu religion and the right to worship there is a fundamental right of the Hindu religion and can be enforced through a suit can be made out through several decisions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court."
The Supreme Court while passing the final judgement, added that the judgement passed by Justice Sharma made a factual error and also attributed that the said portion also was incorrect. The reason behind such error was that Justice Sharma relied upon a Supreme Court judgement of 1995 which was about the use of civil suits for enforcement of fundamental rights under Article 25.
As the Ayodhya verdict was not a matter of adjudication of a title dispute, and also it had not affected the result in any way, it was exempted from the bindings of Article 141, by which the Supreme Court decision abides all the lower courts within the Indian territory.
Contribution to the Indian economy
Soon after the judgement was passed, the work on building the Ram Mandir started but was paused for a while due to the Pandemic and countrywide lockdown since 22 March 2020. However, the work officially started on 5 August 2020 and is expected to turn into a pilgrimage tourist attraction, which will play a significant role in the Indian economy as well as the economy of Uttar Pradesh.
A fund of about Rs 2,100 crore has been raised for the development of Ram Mandir. The temple town is expected to have 10,000 visitors every day. Based on the tourist attraction, Uttar Pradesh Cheif Minister Yogi Adityanath is focusing on the plan of turning Ayoddha into a smart city.
In the budget 2021-22, Rs 140 crore was allotted by Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath for the all-round development of the Ram city including Suryakund.
Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa allotted a budget of Rs 10 crore to build tourist accommodation in Ayodhya for the pilgrims from Karnataka while public donation continues to pour in ensuring funds would not be a hindrance in the construction of a grand Ram city.