A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Saturday unanimously said the faith of Hindus in Lord Ram was undisputed. It also said the Archaeological Survey of India had suggested that a Ram temple did indeed exist at the disputed Ayodhya site where Babri Masjid was razed by a Hindu mob on December 6, 1992.
The bench also rejected the Shia Waqf’s claim on the site as well as the suit brought by the Nirmohi Akhara.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi was reading out the verdict as of 1050 a.m. in the historic case that will hopefully bring to an end an almost 70-year dispute that has divided Muslims and Hindus.
There are 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, has demanded that the Babri Masjid be restored to the form that existed before it was brought down by the Hindu groups. Fourteen appeals had been filed before the SC against a 2010 Allahabad high court judgment, which had said that the disputed 22.7 acres should be equally divided among the three litigants.
The Hindus have maintained that the mosque was built atop a temple that Mughal emperor Babar’s men had demolished. They claim the site was the birthplace of Ram, the most worshipped deity of the Hindus.
The bench comprises Gogoi, justices S.A. Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer.