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Supreme Court settles over five-century-old dispute: 5 takeaways from landmark Ayodhya verdict

Abhimanyu Kulkarni
Ayodhya Verdict

The Supreme Court on Saturday delivered a landmark judgement in the deccades-old Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case. The five-judge constitution bench, led by Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, in a unanimous judgment ruled in favour of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, paving way for the construction of a temple at the 2.77-acre disputed site by a trust which the Centre has three months to constitute. The top court, however, ordered that the Sunni Waqf Board also needs to be provided an alternate piece of land measuring 5 acres. The court dismissed the Shia Waqf Board’s claim to the site, saying that archeological evidence prove that there was no Idgah under the demolished Babri Masjid and that the moque was not built on vacant land. .

Here are 5 key takeaways from the verdict:

1. The Supreme Court granted the entire 2.77 acre of disputed land in Ayodhya to deity Ram Lalla.

2. The apex court has directed the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government to allot 5 acres of land to the Muslims for building a mosque. The court instructed the governement that the alloted land should be at a prominent place.

3. The Supreme Court has directed Centre to set up a trust within three months to formulate a scheme for the construction of a Ram Temple at the site where Babri Masjid was demolished. The Court also said that the Centre could grant representation to Nirmohi Akhara in the trust if it deemed fit.

4. Lending credence to evidence provided by the Archeological Survey of India, SC said that it has been established that there lied a temple beneath the destroyed structure. The court also said that Babri Masjid was not built on vacant land, but had been constructed by Mir Baqi on order of Babar.

The court also stated that the structure underlying the Babri Masjid was not an Islamic one.

5. The apex court held that Ram Janmabhoomi is not a legal personality but the deity is a juridical person.

The Supreme Court began daily hearings of the case on August 6 after mediation failed to yield any results. The five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had reserved its verdict on October 16. The hearings in the apex court witnessed heated exchanges between the two sides. CJI Ranjan Gogoi had at one point even warned the judges that he would walk out of the court if decorum was not maintained. Gogoi’s reaction came after the advocate representing the Muslim sides, Rajeev Dhavan, tore a map handed over to him by counsel representing the Hindu Mahasabha.