The Ram Janambhoomi Babri Masjid Dispute relates to a piece of 2.77 acres land in the holy town of Ayodhya, a two-hour drive from Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh. The land is believed by Hindus to be the birthplace of Lord Rama, on which the Babri Mosque was located. The question in dispute is the ownership or title over the said land and the mosque was built over a demolished temple of Lord Rama.
The Hindus believe that a temple stood at the place of birth of Lord Rama where the Babri Mosque was subsequently built in 1528 after the temple was allegedly destroyed by one of the generals of Babur, the Mughal Dynasty King. It is believed that the temple of Lord Rama which pre-existed, was destroyed and in its place a Mosque was built which came to be known as Babri Masjid, the very place where the temple once stood.
The suits for title and right to worship filed by various parties was clubbed together and referred to the Allahabad High Court, which passed a detailed order dated September 30, 2010 dividing the disputed land into 3 parts i.e 2.77 acres land divided amongst (i) next friend of Ram Lala represented by members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, (ii) Muslims through the Sunni Wakf Board and (iii) Nirmohi Akhara.
A two judge bench of the Supreme Court later stayed the said ruling dated September 30, 2010 of the Allahabad High Court. While admitting a batch of appeals filed by various parties, the Supreme Court also termed the High Court ruling as “strange” since none of the parties had prayed for the relief that was given by the High Court. The said batch of appeals have since been pending before the Supreme Court.
Thereafter, a five judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court commenced day to day hearing the the Ram Janambhoomi Babri Masjid dispute on August 6, 2019 which was concluded on October 16, 2019 after a 40 day hearing in the case. The Supreme Court heard all the parties to the batch of appeals on both issues of title as well as right to worship. While the day to day hearings were in progress, the Supreme Court had also permitted parties to resume mediation without affecting the ongoing day to day hearing.
(Dr Manoj Kumar is the Founder & Managing Partner – Hammurabi & Solomon Partners. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)