TITLE – M SIDDIQ (D) THR LRS V. MAHANT SURESH DAS & ORS
DATE OF DECISION – November 9, 2019
CASE NUMBER – CA 10866- 10867/2010
COURT – Supreme Court of India
JUDGES – Ranjan Gogoi, Sharad A Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, Abdul Nazeer
PARTIES – PETETIONER: M. Siddiq (deceased), Maulana Asshad Rashidi, Sunni Waqf Board.
– RESPONDENT: Mahant Suresh Das and Others, Nirmohi Akhada, Bhagwant Shri Ram Virajman, the State of Uttar Pradesh, District Collector (Faizabad), All India Mahasabha, Arya Maha Praseshik Sabha, All India Sanatan Dharam Sabha.
LAWYERS – PETETIONER: Rajeev Dhavan, Raju Ramachandran
– RESPONDENT: Tushar Mehta, Subramaniam Swamy, CS Vaidyanathan, Ranjit Kumar, K Parasaran, Harish Salve.
FACTS OF THE CASE
By looking into Holy book Ramayana, it was believed that Ayodhya is the birthplace of Lord Ram i.e. Shri Ram Janmabhoomi. It was also the Hindu belief that an ancient Ram temple was situated at the birth place. But the temple was Demolished by the first Mughal Emperor Babur in 1528 and on that spot built a mosque- Babri Masjid. Subsequently it was demolished in the year of 1992 by the kar savaks. This construction and demolition of religious structures created the dispute between Hindus and Muslims where both the community claims that the disputed site belongs to their religious denomination.
BACKGROUND OF THE DISPUTE
1) 1528 – this was the year when the Mughal Emperor Babur demolished the Ram temple and constructed Babri masjid.
2) 1859 – in this year the Colonial British Administration made a separate area by fencing the site for worshiping by both Hindus and Muslim.
3) 1949 – in this year the idols of the gods were placed inside the dome of the mosque. Suits were also filed from both the sides under section 145 of the Crpc. The Faizabad Court passed an order by placing the disputed site under the custodial responsibility of the state Government. Further the court of Additional Magistrate under his preliminary order directed that the disputed site to be under the receivership pf the Chairman of Municipal Board.
4) Suit (suit no. 1) was filed by Gopal Singh Visharad (worshipper) claiming the right to worship Lord Ram.
5) 1959 – the Nirmohi Akhada filed the title suit(suit no.3) and claimed for management right and possession of the Janmabhoomi.
6) 1961 – the Sunni Waqf Board also filed the suit (suit. 4) and claimed possession of the area.
7) 1984 – a committee was formed by the Hindu group which in turn started a movement to built the temple at the disputed site.
8) 1989 – Another suit (suit no. 5) on behalf of Ram Lalla was filed by senior advocate Deoki N Agarwal. A foundation of new temple was laid adjacent to the disputed structure by Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
9) 1992 – on 6th December 1992, the Babri Masjid was demolished by the 2,00,000 Kar sevaks who were associated with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other organisations. This demolition led to large communal riots around the country.
10) 2010 – In the 2: 1 majority, the Allahabad High court ruled that the disputed land to be divided into three parts i.e. between Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhada and Ram Lalla. Where the area of inner court yard has gone in the favour of Ram Lalla, next the area of Sita Rasoi and Ram Chabutra has gone in the favour of Nirmohi Akhada and the rest one third partition has gone in the favour of Sunni Waqf Board. This portion was divided after the adjustment of the extra land where it goes to the Government.
2018 – on 27th September the three-judge bench decided that the bench will continue to hear the dispute on the question whether the dispute be referred to the larger bench i.e. Constitutional Bench comprising five- judges.
2019 – On assuming the post of Chief Justice of India after the retirement of Chief Justice Dipak Mishra, on 8 January Ranjan Gogoi assigned the dispute to the larger Bench (five- judge Constitutional Bench) and started the hearing.
1) whether suit no. 3, 4 and 5 or any among them are barred by limitation Act, 1908?
2) Whether the Ram Janmabhoomi is a juristic entity?
3) Whether the temple exist beneath the disputed structure? If yes, whether existence give title to the Hindu parties?
Answering the issue of limitation, all suits except suit no. 3 all suits are maintainable-
It was held that suit no. 3 filed by Nirmohi Akhada is barred by the Limitation Act and shall be dismissed.
It was held that suit no. 4 filed by the Sunni Waqf Board is within the limitation and the judgment of Allahabad declaring it to be barred get reversed.
It was held that suit no. 5 filed on behalf of Ram Lalla is within limitation and is maintainable.
The court also held that the title of the possession is awarded to the deity of Shri Ram Virajman.
The result of the case is based on the archaeological survey which says that proof of massive structure had been found below the remains of demolished Babri Masjid where in survey the presence of wall and pillars of temple-like structure was also found.
But the possession shall remain with the statutory receiver of the Central Government until further notification comes. the Central Government will be given three months from the date of judgment for formulating a scheme under section 6 and 7 of the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act,1993 where the scheme shall focus on the setting up of trust or any other body under section 6.
Sunni Waqf Board is also allotted 5 acres of land for the construction or mosque in Ayodhya.
Further after the formation of Trust under the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act,1993, Nirmohi Akhada should also get representation.
It was held that Asthan Ram Janmabhoomi is not a juristic entity.
Report of Archeological Survey of India
This post has been written by Mamta Kumari, a Law student from Banasthali Vidyapith.