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SUMMARY OF THE RAM JANAMBHOOMI CASE!

M Siddiq (D) Thr Los vs Mahant Suresh Das & Ors on 9 November 2019


CASE NAME & CITATION

M Siddiq (D) Thr Los vs Mahant Suresh Das & Ors on 9 November 2019

CASE NAME (Also known as)

RAM JANAMBHOOMI CASE

COURT

In the Supreme Court of India

BENCH

Ranjan Gogoi (CJI),
Sharad Arvind Bobde,
DY Chandrachud,
Ashok Bhushan,
S. Abdul Nazeer.

APPELLANTS

M Siddiq (D) Thr Los

RESPONDENTS

Mahant Suresh Das & Ors

DECIDED ON

9/11/2019

INTRODUCTION

Ram Janmabhoomi (literally, “Rama’s birthplace”) is the site that is hypothesized to be the birthplace of Rama, believed to be the seventh avatar of the Hindu deity Vishnu. The Ramayana states that the location of Rama’s birthplace is on the banks of the Sarayu river in a city called “Ayodhya”.

The Ramayana, a Hindu epic whose earliest portions date back to the 1st millennium BCE, states that the capital of Rama was Ayodhya. According to the local Hindu belief, the site of the now-demolished Babri Mosque in Ayodhya is the exact birthplace of Rama.

The Babri mosque is believed to have been constructed during 1528–29 by a certain ‘Mir Baqi’ (possibly Baqi Tashqandi), who was a commander of the Mughal emperor Babur (r. 1526–1530). However, the historical evidence for these beliefs is scant.

The Ayodhya land dispute is a political, historical, and socio-religious debate in India that has been on for decades. The dispute is focused on a plot of land in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, which is regarded among the Hindus to be the birthplace of the Hindu deity Ram.

According to some beliefs, it was originally the site of a Hindu temple that was demolished to construct a mosque known as Babri Masjid. For their part, Muslims claim that the land was titled to them and Mir Baqi built the mosque on it in 1528 on orders of the first Mughal emperor, Babur.

The modification/demolition of the temple has stood as a topic of controversy. By some accounts, some Muslims in 1949 saw an idol of Ram being placed inside what was then a mosque. Both Hindu and Muslim sides claimed ownership of the site and that led to an eventual lockdown of the area by the government.

On December 17, 1959, Nirmohi Akhara filed a suit seeking possession of the site and claimed to be the custodians of the disputed land. Following this, the Sunni Central Board of Waqf also filed a suit claiming ownership of the site on December 18, 1961.

Later, some Hindu Kar sevaks on December 6, 1992, demolished Babri masjid, an action that triggered communal riots all over India, killing at least 2,000 people.

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Over the years, the matter has been brought up by both groups in various courts of the country.

On September 30, 2010, the Allahabad High Court ruled that the disputed 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya should be divided into three parts among the Hindus, Muslims, and the Nirmohi Akhara. The petitioners moved the Supreme Court and the apex court stayed the HC verdict.

In 2016, the court started a fresh hearing of the case. In 2017, the SC said that the matter was sensitive and suggested for the case be settled out of court. It asked stakeholders to hold talks and find an amicable solution. However, no solution was achieved. In 2018, the Supreme Court set up a five-judge Constitution Bench to hear the land dispute case.

On November 9, 2019, a Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi unanimously ruled that the disputed land be given to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas for the construction of a temple, and the Muslim side be compensated with five acres of land at a prominent site in Ayodhya to build a mosque.

In February 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in the Lok Sabha that the government had given its approval to the proposal for “Shri Ramjanmabhoomi Tirtha Kshetra” trust to take care of the construction of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya and other related issues.

Six months later, he visited Ayodhya to lay the foundation stone (a 40 kg silver brick) for the construction of the Ram Mandir at the Ram Janmbhoomi site. Despite the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, the event was extravagant, with as many as 175 invitees.

ISSUES OF RAM JANAMBHOOMI CASE

Issues and findings of the High Court 209

  1. Is the property in suit the site of Janam Bhumi of Sri Ram Chandraji?

  Justice S U Khan – No temple was demolished for constructing the mosque. Until the mosque was constructed during the period of Babur, the premises in dispute were not treated as or believed to be the birth-place of Lord Ram.  Justice Sudhir Agarwal – The place of birth as believed and worshiped by the Hindus is the area covered under the central dome of the disputed structure in the inner courtyard.  Justice D V Sharma – Decided against the defendants. PART L 230 

  1. Are there any idols of Bhagwan Ram Chandra Ji and are his Charan Paduka situated on the site in a suit?  Justice S U Khan – Idols were kept on the pulpit inside the mosque for the first time during the night of 22-23 December 1949.  Justice Sudhir Agarwal – Idols were placed under the central dome of the disputed structure, within the inner courtyard, on the night of 22-23 December 1949 but before it, they existed in the outer courtyard.  Justice D V Sharma – Decided against the defendants. 
  2. Has the plaintiff any right to worship the ‗Charan Paduka‘ and the idols situated in the place in a suit?  Justice S U Khan – The only thing which can be said is that Ramchabutra came into existence before the visit of Tieffenthaler but after the construction of the mosque. Both parties were in joint possession.  Justice Sudhir Agarwal – The plaintiff has a right to worship subject to reasonable restrictions like safety, maintenance, and security.  Justice D V Sharma – Decided in favor of the defendants.
  3. 6. Is the property in suit a mosque constructed by Babur commonly known as Babri Mosque, in 1528 A.D?  Justice S U Khan – The construction of a mosque took place by or under the orders of Babur. Whether it was built by Mir Baqi or someone else is not material. Muslims offered regular prayers until 1934, after which until 22 December 1949 only Friday prayers were offered. This is sufficient for continuous possession and use. No temple was demolished for the construction of the mosque.  Justice Sudhir Agarwal – Plaintiffs have failed to prove the construction of the structure by Babur in 1528 A. D.  Justice D V Sharma – Decided against the defendants.
  4.  Have the Muslims had the property in suit from 1528 A.D. continuously, openly, and to the knowledge of the defendants and Hindus in general? If so, its effect?  Justice S U Khan – Title follows possession and both parties were in joint possession of the disputed premises.  Justice Sudhir Agarwal – Decided in favor of the plaintiff.  Justice D V Sharma – Decided in favor of the defendants.
  5. Is the suit barred by proviso to Section 42 of the Specific Relief Act?  Justice S U Khan – Not barred. Justice Sudhir Agarwal – Not barred. PART L 233  Justice D V Sharma – Decided in favor of the defendants.
  6. Is the suit barred by the provisions of Section 5(3) of the Muslim Waqf Act (U.P. Act 13 of 1936)?  Justice S U Khan – Agrees with the findings of Justice Sudhir Agarwal. Justice Sudhir Agarwal – Decided in favor of the plaintiff. Justice D V Sharma – Decided in favor of the defendants.
  7. Is the present suit barred by time?  Justice S U Khan, Justice Sudhir Agarwal, and Justice D V Sharma – The suit is not barred by limitation. 
  8. Are the defendants or any of them entitled to special costs under Section 35-A CPC?  Justice S U Khan – Agrees with the findings of Justice Sudhir Agarwal.
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RAM JANAMBHOOMI CASE |JUDGEMENT

Writ petitions were filed before the High Court of Allahabad and this Court challenged the validity of the Act of 1993. All the petitions and the reference by the President were heard together and decided by a judgment dated 24 October 1994. The decision of a Constitution Bench of this Court, titled Dr. M Ismail Faruqui v Union of India12 held Section 4(3), which provided for the abatement of all pending suits as unconstitutional. The rest of the Act of 1993 was held to be valid.

On 9 May 2011, a two-judge Bench of this Court admitted several appeals and stayed the operation of the judgment and decree of the Allahabad High Court. During the pendency of the appeals, parties were directed to maintain the status quo concerning the disputed premises by the directions issued in Ismail Faruqui. The Registry of this Court was directed to provide parties with electronic copies of the digitized records.

Justice DM Dharmadhikari speaking for the Court held: ―16. A religious endowment does not create a title in respect of the property dedicated in anybody‘s favor. A property dedicated for the religious or charitable purposes for which the owner of the property or the donor has indicated no administrator or manager becomes res nullius which the learned author in the book (supra) explains as property belonging to nobody.

Such a property dedicated for general public use is itself raised to the category of a juristic person. Learned author at p. 35 of his commentary explains how such a property vests in the person itself as a juristic person….The idea is the same, namely, when the property is dedicated for a particular purpose, the property itself upon which the purpose is impressed is raised to the category of a juristic person so that the property which is dedicated would vest in the person so creates.

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CONCLUSION

The five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, started a day-to-day hearing on the matter on August 6, 2019, and midway through the proceedings, directed the advocates to finish the argument by October 16.

The Supreme Court, on October 16, 2019, concluded hearings in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute in Ayodhya and reserved its judgment, which was passed on November 9.

The apex court, in a unanimous verdict, gave the ownership of the disputed 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya to the Ram Janmabhoomi trust. It ordered that an alternative piece of land in a “suitable” and “prominent” place in Ayodhya should be given to the Muslims to build a mosque.

The Court also asked the government to frame a plan within three months and set up a trust, which would construct a temple in Ayodhya.

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