In a major reprieve to its stakeholders, the Supreme Court awarded the disputed land to the Hindu parties in its unanimous verdict in the Ayodhya case on Saturday. The constitutional bench consisting of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S A Bobde, Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice S Abdul Nazeer and Justice Ashok Bhushan also alloted an alternate land to the Muslim parties for the liberty of constructing a mosque, either by the central govt or the State govt in a suitable place in Ayodhya. Here are the five takeaways of the Supreme Court's 1045 page judgement.
In the unanimous verdict, CJI Ranjan Gogoi stated that the 'belief of Hindus that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya is undisputed'. He added that there is clear evidence to indicate that worship by Hindus in the outer courtyard continued uninterrupted inspite of the fence being in place while dismissing the Muslims parties' claim stating that they have offered no evidence to indicate that they had exclusive possession of the inner structure. This remark paved way for the construction of the Ram temple in the 2.77 acres disputed land, with the Supreme Court awarding the disputed area to the Hindu parties.
After dismissing both Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Central Waqf board's claims on the disputed land, the Supreme court directed the Centre to come up with a scheme undeer Ayodhya Act 1993 within three months to set up a trust which will hand over the outer courtyard and inner courtyard of the site to the Trust for construction of a temple. This added to the fact that the Supreme Court held that the Archeological Survey of India's findings that there was a structure underlying the disputed structure which was not an Islamic structure. The Supreme Court also held that the Ram Chabutra, Sita Raso was worshipped by the Hindus before the British came, with the possession of the disputed property, for now, remaining with the Centre.
The apex court had ruled that the Centre or the state government to allot a 5-acre land in a significant and prominent place in Ayodhya. While the SC slammed the demolition of the Babri Masjid, it added that while Hindus always believed that the birthplace of Ram was in the inner courtyard of the mosque, the Muslims provided no evidence to the contrary. The CJI added that the Sunni Waqf board altered its stand on being confronted with findings of the ASI report.
The Supreme Court in its verdict ruled that ASI being an expert authority had refrained from recording a specific finding if the underlying structure was demolished for construction of a mosque. It added that this finding was responsible for the Waqf board altering its stance. It also dismissed the claims of Nirmohi Akhara as it had no 'shebait' (deity worshipping) rights.
The SC had dismissed both Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Waqf board's claims, hence concluding that the Allahabad HC was wrong in dividing the disputed site into three parts. The Allahabad HC had awarded the Hindu parties - the portion before the central dome of the "three-domed structure" (mosque), where a makeshift idol had been kept, in view of the Hindus' belief in the area as the birthplace of Lord Ram. On the other hand, the Nirmohi Akhara was allotted a part of the property in the outer courtyard on which stood the Ram Chabutra and Sita Rasoi structures. Meanwhile, the Muslim Parties were to be given the remaining portions of the property (both inner and outer courtyard), as per the verdict.