The Supreme Court on Saturday unanimously ordered setting up of a trust by the government that would eventually pave the way for construction of a temple in Ayodhya at the disputed site where a 16th century Babri Masjid was razed by a Hindu mob on December 6, 1992. A five-judge bench that delivered the landmark judgement also ordered allotment of 5-acre land to Muslims for construction of a mosque within Ayodhya.
The top court ordered the government to set up the trust within three months. Nirmohi Akhara, one of the three litigants in the case, could be given representation in the trust if accepted by the Centre, the bench said.
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The Hindus had maintained that the mosque was built atop a temple that Mughal emperor Babar’s men had demolished. They claimed the site was the birthplace of Ram, the most worshipped deity of the Hindus. The SC said the faith of the Hindus in Lord Ram could not be disputed but a judgement cannot be decided on faith and beliefs, it is decided on evidence. It said the Archaeological Survey of India had indicated the presence of a non-islamic structure at the disputed site. So that evidence along with accounts of travellers and documents in gazzets of that time provide a combination of evidence which are in favour of the Hindus.The landmark judgement was delivered by a bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, justices S.A. Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer.
There were three main parties to the dispute. The Nirmohi Akhara, a religious denomination, had sought directions to construct a Ram temple on the disputed land in Ayodhya and wanted the management rights of the premises to be given to it. Ram Lalla (or the infant Ram), represented by the Hindu Mahasabha, wanted the entire land to be handed over to them, with no part going to Muslim parties or the Nirmohi Akhara.
The Sunni Waqf Board, which looks after religious properties, had demanded that the Babri Masjid be restored to the form that existed before it was brought down by the Hindu groups. The SC rejected the claim of the Sunni Waqf. Fourteen appeals had been filed before the SC against a 2010 Allahabad high court judgment, which had said that the disputed 2.77 acres should be equally divided among the three litigants.