What the Ayodhya verdict says
The Allahabad High Court on Thursday ruled by a majority verdict that the disputed land in Ayodhya be divided equally into three parts among Hindus and Muslims and that the place where the makeshift temple of Lord Ram exists belongs to Hindus.
The following is the verdict of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad high in brief:
Whether the disputed site is the birth place of Bhagwan Ram?
The disputed site is the birth place of Lord Ram. Place of birth is a juristic person and is a deity. It is personified as the
spirit of divine worshipped as birth place of Lord Rama as a child. Spirit of divine ever remains present every where at all times for any one to invoke at any shape or form in accordance with his own aspirations and it can be shapeless and formless also.
Whether the disputed building was a mosque? When was it built? By whom?
The disputed building was constructed by Babar, the year is not certain but it was built against the tenets of Islam. Thus, it cannot have the character of a mosque.
Whether the mosque was built after demolishing a Hindu temple?
The disputed structure was constructed on the site of old structure after demolition of the same. The Archaeological Survey of India has proved that the structure was a massive Hindu religious structure.
Whether the idols were placed in the building on the night of December 22/23rd, 1949?
The idols were placed in the middle dome of the disputed structure in the intervening night of 22/23.12.1949.
Whether any of the claims for title is time barred?
O.O.S. No. 4 of 1989, the Sunni Central Board of Waqfs
U.P., Lucknow and others Vs. Gopal Singh Visharad and others and O.O.S. No.3 of 1989, Nirmohi Akhara and Another Vs. Sri Jamuna Prasad Singh and others are barred by time.
What will be the status of the disputed site e.g. inner and and outer courtyard?
It is established that the property in suit is the site of Janm Bhumi of Ram Chandra Ji and Hindus in general had the right to worship Charan, Sita Rasoi, other idols and other object of worship existed upon the property in suit. It is also established that Hindus have been worshipping the place in dispute as Janm Sthan i.e. a birth place as deity and visiting it as a sacred place of pilgrimage as of right since time immemorial.
After the construction of the disputed structure it is proved the deities were installed inside the disputed structure on 22/23.12.1949. It is also proved that the outer courtyard was in exclusive possession of Hindus and they were worshipping throughout and in the inner courtyard (in the disputed structure) they were also worshipping. It is also established that the disputed structure cannot be treated as a mosque as it came into existence against the tenets of Islam.
The judges have also said that the status quo should be maintained at the site for three months. The full judgment runs into 8,000 pages.
Zaffaryab Jilani, a lawyer for the Muslim community, said he would appeal the verdict, which could delay a final decision in the case for years.
“It’s not a victory or defeat for any party. It’s a step forward. We hope this matter will be resolved,” he said.
Hearing in the case was taken up on a day-to-day basis from January this year and was completed on July 26. The special bench had reserved its verdict asking the parties concerned to approach the Officer on Special Duty in the case to find out if there was any scope of resolution in the case through reconciliation.
The three main issues before the high court were whether there was a temple at the disputed site, prior to 1528, whether the suit filed by the Sunni central waqf board in 1961 is barred by limitation and whether Muslims perfected their title through adverse possession.
The history of the dispute goes back to the year 1528 when a mosque was built on the site by Mughal emperor Babar. Hindus believe that the site was the birthplace of Lord Ram and a temple had existed there earlier.
In order to settle the dispute, the British officials in 1859 erected a fence to separate the places of worship, allowing the inner court to be used by Muslims and the outer court by Hindus. This system went on till 1949 when an idol of Lord Ram surfaced inside the mosque.
The authorities then declared the premises a disputed area and locked the gates, which were unlocked after 37 years by a district judge in 1986 to allow darshan.
With the passage of time the dispute took on political colour. The Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992 in the presence of senior leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The demolition of the mosque triggered communal riots in several parts of the country in which more than 2,000 lives were lost.
The high court verdict assumes significance as an amicable solution to the centuries old dispute over a piece of land has not been achieved through negotiations between the two religious groups.
Repeated attempts were made by former prime ministers P V Narasimha Rao, V P Singh and Chandra Shekhar to persuade the two sides to reach a compromise but there was no success.
The Ayodhya dispute has been an emotive issue for decades and mired in a slew of legal suits involving Hindu and Muslim religious groups.
The first title suit in the case was filed in 1950 by one Gopal Singh Visharad, seeking an injunction to permit pooja (worship) of Lord Ram at the disputed site. The second suit was filed by Paramhans Tamchandra Das, also in 1950, seeking the same injunction, but it was later withdrawn.
The third suit was filed in 1959 by the Nirmohi Akhara, seeking a direction to hand over the charge of the disputed site from the receiver. The fourth one was filed in 1961 by the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Board of Waqfs for declaration and possession of the site.
The fifth suit was moved on July 1, 1989 in the name of Bhagwan Shree Ram Lalla Virajman, also for declaration and possession.
Through an application moved by then advocate general of UP, all the four suits were transferred to the high court in 1989.
Out of the 94 witnesses in court, 58 appeared from the Hindu side and 36 from Muslim side and their statements run in more than 13,000 pages.
Earlier this month, R C Tripathi, one of the parties to the suit, moved a plea in the high court seeking deferment of the verdict to make fresh attempts for an out-of-court settlement through negotiations.
On September 17, the high court refused to defer pronouncement of the verdict, following which the matter reached the Supreme Court.
An apex court bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and A K Patnaik refused to take up the case and referred it to another bench.
Difference of opinion between two Justices R V Raveendran and H L Gokhale, before whom the matter came up for hearing on September 23, surfaced on entertaining the petition. However, the court issued notices to the parties.
The matter was finally heard by a special three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia on September 28 and it dismissed the plea for deferment of the verdict by the high court.
Pin drop silence and strong army presence greeted the courts
He much awaited and much debated verdict in the Ayodhya case is finally out and the lead up to the same was pretty dramatic in Lucknow. A member of the legal team who was present in the court hall where the verdict was delivered said that there was pin drop silence in the court hall as the three judges read out their verdicts.
It is probably for the first time that we have seen three judges reading out their verdicts separately in the court hall. In normal course when are concurring opinions one of the judges reads out the operative portion of the order. However here all three judges read their respective verdicts separately giving reasons for passing the order.
The three judge special bench of the Lucknow Bench were not assigned any other matter today. The cause list had only this one matter listed for all three of them. The lawyers said that they were giving finishing touches to the verdict in the morning and they were at the court hall by 3 PM. We expected it to get over by around 3.30 PM, but it went on for nearly one and half hours since they all read out their verdicts individually. However they did not go deep into the reasoning of the verdict which runs into nearly 8000 pages.
Once the verdict was pronounced, there were a couple of disappointed faces in the court, but not once did any of them show any sort of dissent or try arguing further with the Bench. They accepted the verdict and sought leave to move the Supreme Court which was granted. None of the judges said anything which was not in the order such as an oral observation or anything of that sort. The order was pronounced, signed and the judges left the court.
However the party which had the verdict in its favour rushed to the media centre at the district collectors office. Around 12 of them sporting their robes walked in showing the media the victory symbol. Once on the dais in front of the eager media, the first thing they said, “the title suit filed by the Waqf Board has been dismissed. The court has declared that it is Ram Janmabhoomi. It took the media a while to figure out what was happening and on being asked several times they had to keep repeating what the court had said. This was then followed by pushing by camera persons and there were at lest 5 minor altercations before the draft copy of the operative portion was finally made available.
Lawyers said that they had never before witnessed such an event. It looked as though the high court was taken over by the army. Yes it did cause a lot of inconvinence to the other litigants, but everyone cooperated in the large interest of security.
Petitioner Tripathi happy as his stand is vindicated
Ramesh Chandra Tripathi who had made a last ditch attempt to settle the ayodhya dispute out of court says that this is welcome judgment. Speaking through his counsel, Prashanth Chandra in Lucknow, he says that the verdict basically upholds the preamble of what the central government had said when it acquired land around the disputed site in the first place.
He further goes on to add that every effort has been made by the court to reach an amicable solution and it is not as though the court has completely disregarded the feelings of the Muslims. The union government when it acquired land around the site had stated that there would be a Temple, Mosque and a library. This particular verdict is very much in that direction since it attempts to accommodate everyone.
When we sought for an out of court settlement we had thought that an amicable solution would have been reached. At that point of time there were more persons who were opposing our claim. Tripathi feels that he is vindicated in this judgment for two reasons. First and foremost the larger picture of the judgment indicates that there can very well be an amicable solution to the dispute. Secondly Tripathi was one of the applicants in this dispute who had challenged the claim of the Sunni Waqf Board on the title suit. He has won this case with the title suit against the board being dismissed.
Muslims disappointed with Ayodhya verdict
The Muslim Community has reacted with shock at the latest verdict of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court which ruled that the disputed site is Ram Janmabhoomi and also the suit filed by the Sunni Central Waqf Board is barred by limitation and hence was dismissed.
Professor Mohammad Sulaiman, senior member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board who has been part of the litigation told rediff.com, “we are obviously disappointed.The case has only been dismissed on technical grounds opn account of adverse possession. However we are happy that the court has no where ruled that the Muslims had demolished a temple and built a mosque.
It is not the final verdict and we have the Supreme Court to move. The High Court has given three months time to negotiate on the issue of the outer courtyard and also ordered maintaining of status quo for three months until the parties go in appeal
I cannot give you a time frame as to when the appeal will be filed. We need to prepare well and build a good case to put up before the highest court of the land. We hope that the supreme court will take into consideration the tradition of this particular case and not decide on the issue of adverse possession and we will be extremely disappointed if that court does the same.
Zafrayab Jilani, the lawyer for the Waqf board said that they will go the supreme court. This is not the end of the matter here and the verdict will be final only when the Supreme court decides. However if the supreme court also rules against us then we will abide by it.
Maulana Kalbe Jawad a proiminent shia cleric from Lucknow we are not sad neither happy since we all know this is not the final verdict.
Shariyat Law doesnt let us compromise the mosque
Zafaryab Jilani, Mushtaq Ahmad Siddiqi and Syed Irfan Ahmad, Advocates, representing the Muslim side in the Ayodhya title suits have stated today’s judgement should not be taken by the people of India in the sense of victory or defeat of any party or community but rather they should take it as the victory of the Rule of Law and independence of judiciary.
Today’s judgment is likely to strengthen basic features of the constitution and confidence of the people, especially of the minorities, upon the independence of judiciary and Rule of Law. Today the Special Full Bench of the Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench is likely to pronounce the judgement in a case which had started more than 60 years ago and about which the general feeling of the countrymen was that the same may never be decided. Our Judiciary is likely to vindicate today that it is not influenced by any considerations other than those which are recognized by the law of the land.
These cases relating to the title and possession of Babri Masjid are apparently between two communities but actually they relate to the secular fabric of the country. The personality of Lord Rama is not at all in dispute who has been described as “Imam-e-Hind” by the great poet of the East, Allama Iqbal who had composed the “Taranai Hind” (Sare Jahan Se Achcha Hindostan Hamara). The issue of Babri Masjid does not relate even to the rule of Babar who had defeated Ibrabim Lodi to take over the reigns of the country.
Today’s Historic Judgment is likely to decide the controversy on the basis of admissible evidence and principles of law recognized by our judicial system. Whatever may be the findings of the court, one thing is likely to be vindicated today that our Judiciary is competent and has the courage to decide each and every sort of dispute.
Today’s judgement should not be taken by the people of India in the sense of victory or defeat of any party or community but rather they should take it as the victory of the Rule of Law and independence of judiciary. Any party to the dispute which may feel dissatisfied with the judgment as a whole or with any portion thereof, has the remedy of approaching the Supreme Court. As such we have to behave in a very responsible and disciplined manner and should not express our sentiments or feelings in any such manner which may offend the feelings or sentiments of others.
The judges who will decide if it’s temple or mosque
The entire nation’s eyes are on the three men who will walk into court hall number 21, Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court at 3.30 PM where they will pronounce the historic verdict in the Ayodhya title suit on Thursday. After much delay which was followed by a deferment plea in the Supreme Court, Justices Sudhir Agarwal, S U Khan and Dharam Veer Sharma will finally tell the nation whether there will be a temple or a mosque on the disputed 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya.
Amidst tight security in and around the High Court, the three judges will get to work at 10.30 AM when they will give finishing touches to the final order. Legal experts point out although their decisions have already been made they would ink the operative and final portion of the judgment only on D-Day considering the sensitive nature of the issue. Judges across the country normally follow this procedure when the matter is so sensitive in nature. The Allahabad High Court had witnessed a similar scene when it pronouced the verdict in which it nullified the election of Indira Gandhi.
The three judges will pen down the operative portion of the verdict from 10.30 Am onwards and then would assemble in court hall 21 at 3.30 PM where they will read out the operative part of the verdict in front of the lawyers representing the parties to the suit. Once the judgment is read out, the parties have a couple of options before it. The aggrieved party could seek a stay of the order seeking time to move the Supreme Court or could just abide by it and approach the Supreme Court at a later date. However the indication is that either of the parties is likely to move the Supreme Court as early as Friday even if it means they would access only to the operative portion of the verdict. The new laws state that a party can approach the Supreme Court with the operative portion instead of wait for a complete certified copy of the order in matters of urgency.
This verdict which is sure to create history will be the last one for Justice D V Sharma. Justice Sharma who had passed the dissenting verdict in the deferment plea will retire on October 1. An expert in civil laws, Justice Sharma a bachelor is known to be a very religious person. Lawyers in Lucknow say that he is a simpleton and cooks his own food at home. After graduating in Arts, he passed his LLB in the year 1970 and served as the Chief Law Officer for the UP financial corporation. Prior to being promoted as a District and Sessions Judge in the year 2002 he served as Principal Secretary in the Parliamentary Affairs Department. He was appointed judge of the High Court in 2005 and became a permanent judge in the year 2007.
Justice Khan who was appointed as High Court judge in 2002 graduated from the Aligarh Muslim University with a science degree in the year 1971.
In the year 1975, he got his law degree and started his practice in the Aligarh Civil court. He later began his practice in the Allahabad High Court before being elevated as judge.
Justice Agarwal graduated in law from the Meerut university in the year 1980 and commenced practice in the Allahabad High Court immediately after that. He was elevated in the year 2005 after serving as the additional advocate general in the year 2003. Justice Agarwal joined the Bench comprising Justice Khan and Sharma only in the year 2008. He specialized with taxation issues but was moved to the civil side later. Justices Khan and Sharma have been on this special bench since the year 2005.