The Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict ruled in favour of a temple in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute but also ordered the government to allot 5 acres to the Sunni Central Waqf Board out of the 68 acres acquired by the Centre or by the state within the city of Ayodhya.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who pronounced the judgment on Sunday, said the top court had to remedy a wrong committed against the Muslim parties. The five judges invoked the Supreme Court’s special powers under Article 142 of the Constitution - that empowers the top court to pass any order necessary to do complete justice - to order the alternative plot of five acres for the Sunni Board.
The verdict, which ruled in favour of Hindus largely because they had presented a stronger possessory claim, noted that Muslims hadn’t abandoned the mosque but were dispossessed.
“The allotment of land to the Muslims is necessary because though on a balance of probabilities, the evidence in respect of the possessory claim of the Hindus to the composite whole of the disputed property stands on a better footing than the evidence adduced by the Muslims and the Muslims were dispossessed upon the desecration of the mosque on 22/23 December 1949 which was ultimately destroyed on 6 December 1992. There was no abandonment of the mosque by the Muslims,” the ruling said.
The court reasoned that justice wouldn’t prevail if the court were to overlook the entitlement of the Muslims who have been deprived of the structure of the mosque “through means which should not have been employed in a secular nation committed to the rule of law”.
Elsewhere in the 929-page verdict, the court elaborated that Muslims were excluded from worship in 1949 when “the mosque was desecrated by the installation of Hindu idols”.
“The ouster of the Muslims on that occasion was not through any lawful authority but through an act which was calculated to deprive them of their place of worship. After the proceedings under Section 145 of Cr PC 1898 were initiated and a receiver was appointed following the attachment of the inner courtyard, worship of the Hindu idols was permitted. During the pendency of the suits, the entire structure of the mosque was brought down in a calculated act of destroying a place of public worship. The Muslims have been wrongly deprived of a mosque which had been constructed well over 450 years ago. ,” the ruling said.