A petition has been filed in Supreme Court on Monday challenging the acquisition of the adjoining land to the disputed site on the grounds that the "Parliament has no legislative competence to take over/acquire the property belonging to the State" and is violative of Article 25.
Less than a week ago on January 29, the Centre had filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking permission to return all excess acquired land at the Ram Janmabhoomi site.
The application reads that about 67 acres of land was acquired in all, over 25 years ago.
Apart from the disputed land, which is about 0.313 acres, the rest can be returned to the owners.
This meant that the government sought permission to return land that it has held for over two decades to the original owners. It contends that of the 67 acres of land in question, only 0.313 acres are disputed (currently being heard in the Supreme Court). A large portion of the 67 acres of land originally belonged to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, a trust geared towards the construction of the Ram Mandir.
The government's petition came on a day that the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear the Ayodhya title suit case, though that did not to happen owing to the non-availability of Justice Bobde due to medical reasons.
Speaking to media just hours after the government's plea to the apex court to grant Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas land out of the 67 acres, Human Resources & Development Minister (HRD) minister Prakash Javadekar stated that the part of land, which is not disputed and not being heard in the apex court, should be given to the pro-Mandir group.
"One of the land owner for 42 acres in the 67 acre land is the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas. The government wants to give land back to them. They want to build temple there. Too much delay also is one hindrance. We expect, this application will be sanctioned immediately. The government is not touching to the disputed structure which was 0.3 acre of land, where the title suit is pending," he added.