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Ayodhya verdict fine print: What Allahabad HC ruled in 2010 and what changes now

Abhimanyu Kulkarni

Ending the decades-old dispute, the Supreme Court on Saturday granted the entire 2.77-acre of disputed land in Ayodhya to deity Ram Lalla. The court quashed the Sunni Waqf Board’s claim to the land, but directed the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government to allot 5 acres of land at a prominent place in Ayodhya to the Muslims for the construction of a mosque.

The five-judge Constitution bench comprised of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer. The bench overruled the 2010 judgement by the Allahabad high court. The Allahabad HC had asked for the land in Ayodhya to be divided equally among the three parties in the case – the Nirmohi Akhara, Ram Lalla and the Sunni Waqf Board. The Supreme Court, on the other hand, dismissed the petitions by Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara, saying that the land belonged to Ram Lalla.

The SC has directed the Centre to form a trust within three months to prepare the roadmap for the construction of the Ram Temple at the site. The Babri Masjid stood at the disputed land and was demolished in 1992.

While the Allahabad HC judgement said that none of the parties could produce ample documentary evidence to establish title, the SC said that there was ample archeological evidence to prove the existence of a temple at the site. The apex court cited data provided by the Archeological Survey of India and said that Babri Masjid wasn’t built on vacant land. The 2010 Allahabad HC verdict had concurred that there was on evidence to prove that a temple had been demolished to construct Babri Masjid.

The Allahabad HC verdict was passed by three judge bench of Justice Sibghat Ullah Khan, Justice Sudhir Agarwal and Justice Dharam Veer Sharma. The bench had said that Ram’s birth place was a juristic person. The Supreme Court held a different view and said that Ram Janmabhoomi is not a legal personality but the deity is a juridical person.