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Allahabad HC’s please-all verdict divides disputed site among the three petitioners
Shahira Naim & R Sedhuraman
Tribune News Service

Lucknow/New Delhi, September 30
The much-awaited judgment of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court today unanimously ruled that the idols of ‘Ram Lalla’ in the makeshift temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya cannot be removed.

The three-judge Bench of Justices SU Khan, Sudhir Agarwal and Dharamveer Sharma separately delivered the historic verdict that runs into almost 10,000 pages. In a 2-1 majority verdict, Justices Khan and Agarwal decreed that the 2.7-acre land comprising the disputed site should be divided into three equal parts and be given to Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and the party representing ‘Ram Lala Virajman’ (Ram deity).


2.7 acre disputed site to be divided in three equal parts.

Two portions to be handed over to Hindus, Muslims will get one.

All three parties --- Muslims (Sunni Waqf Board), Nirmohi Akhara and the parties representing 'Ram Lalla Virajman'--- declared joint title-holders.

The portion below the central dome, where the idol of Lord Rama is presently kept in makeshift temple, belongs to Hindus.

All three parties may utilise the area to which they are entitled to by having separate entry for egress and ingress of the people without disturbing each other’s rights. The parties may approach Centre which shall act in accordance with the directions and also as contained in the SC verdict.

However, the third judge Justice D V Sharma ruled that that the disputed site is the birth place of Lord Ram and that the disputed building constructed by Mughal emperor Babur was built against the tenets of Islam and did not have the character of the mosque. The Bench directed maintenance of status quo at the site for three months and invited suggestions from all the parties for demarcation of the land.

While Justices Sudhir Agarwal and SU Khan were in favour of apportionment, Justice DV Sharma in his minority verdict said the “disputed structure cannot be treated as a mosque as it came into existence against the tenets of Islam”. Justice Sharma said the Archaeological Survey of India had proved that the mosque was constructed after demolition of a “massive Hindu religious structure”.

While Justice Agarwal wrote the common judgment for the Bench, Justice Khan issued a separate order mostly concurring with it. Justice Sharma gave his own verdict without talking about division of the site. Justice Agarwal said: “All three parties may utilise the area to which they are entitled to by having separate entry for egress and ingress of the people without disturbing each other’s rights. For this purpose the concerned parties may approach the Government of India who shall act in accordance with the above directions and also as contained in the judgment of the apex court.”

The judges also dismissed the claims of the Sunni Central Waqf Board over the Babri Mosque due to limitation or becoming time barred as well as the claim of the Nirmohi Akhara.

With a 2-1 majority, the Bench held that all the three parties, namely Muslims, Hindus and Nirmohi Akhara were joint titleholders of the property in dispute. Both Justices Sudhir Aggarwal and SU Khan made it clear that the share of the Muslim parties shall not be less than one third of the total area of the premises. “...If while allotting exact portions some minor adjustment in the share is to be made then the same will be made and the adversely affected party may be compensated by allotting some portion of the adjoining land,” observed Justice Khan.

The area under the erstwhile central dome where the idols are placed in the makeshift temple has been allotted to the Hindus. The inner courtyard has been given to both the communities “since it was being used by both since decades and centuries”, noted Justice Aggarwal.

Judge refers 274 books

Hymns of vedic age to the recent judicial judgements and textbooks from all eras of history were referred by Justice Sudhir Agarwal of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court. Justice Agarwal prepared his separate judgement in 21 volumes in which he gave reference of 274 books, 798 judgements in 5,238 pages. — PTI

The ‘Ram Chabootra’, ‘Sita Rasoi’ and ‘Bhandar’ area in the outer courtyard will go to the Nirmohi Akhara (defendant no. 3) .The outer courtyard is once again to be shared by the Nirmohi Akhara and the Muslim parties.

Minutes after the judgment was delivered, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board announced that it would challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court. The Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, one of the early litigants in the Ayodhya title suits, also said it would move the apex court.

Zafaryab Jilani, counsel for Sunni Central Waqf Board, said that the court verdict that came after 60 years was “not only partly disappointing but also against the settled principles of law and evidence adduced by the Muslim side”.

He ruled out the possibility of accepting one-third of the land. “The Babri mosque cannot be reduced to a part or portion,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cautioned people against “disruptive elements” spreading rumours to create ill-will between communities. "You should be particularly careful with regard to rumours that disruptive elements could propagate to create ill-will between communities," he said after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security followed by a Congress Core Group meet headed by party chief Sonia Gandhi.

The HC judgment had been slated for September 24 but was deferred due to a plea filed in the SC seeking a directive for another attempt at out-of-court settlement. The apex court, however, rejected the plea on September 28.

The verdict marks an end to the 60-year-long legal battle for the title suit. The first suit was filed by Gopal Singh Visharad on January 18, 1950 asking for the right to worship the idols installed at ‘Asthan Janmabhoomi’. The same year, Ramchandra Paramhans filed a suit, but withdrew it later. Nirmohi Akhara filed the third suit in 1959, while the fourth was filed by UP Sunni Central Waqf Board in 1961.

Former VHP vice-president Deoki Nandan Agarwala filed the fifth suit in 1989. All the four suits pending before a Faizabad court were transferred to the Special High Court Bench on October 23, 1989.


The Time Line

10th-11th century: Hindu religious organsiations claim Lord Ram temple was built at his birthplace in Ayodhya during this period.

1194 AD: Muslim religious groups claim that the Turkish sultans found a mound at Ram kot in Ayodhya.

1528: First Moghul emperor Babar's general, Mir Baqi, with the guidance of one Musa Ashikan built a mosque at Ram Kot site and named it after Babar, implying it was either built on his orders, or in his honor.

1853: A sect called the Nirmohis claimed the structure, contending that a mosque stood on the spot where a temple had been destroyed. Violence erupted. The civil administration refused permission to build a temple.

Jan. 19, 1885: A Hindu Mahant Raghubir Das filed a case before Faizabad Sub-Judge, Pandit Hari Kishan, to build a temple over the mosque, claiming that it was the birth place of Lord Rama. It was the first title suit.

Dec. 22, 1949: Icons of Ram and Sita 'appear' in Babri Masjid. The Wakf Board, claiming ownership of the land, and Hindu parties file counter civil suits. Government declares the site 'disputed' and locks the building gates.

1984: Vishwa Hindu Parishad and BJP launch a movement for building Ram Janmabhoomi temple at 'Dharam Sansad' (Religious Parliament).

Rajiv GandhiFeb. 11, 1986: During Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress regime, Faizabad District judge orders the opening of the disputed structure to Hindus.

Nov. 9, 1989: The first stone of a temple was laid by VHP and other Hindu organsiations. Temple's foundation laid next day by a Harijan from Bihar, Kameshwar Chaupal; the plinth was dug 192 feet away from the masjid.

Dec. 23, 1990: Evidence for the Ram Janmabhoomi temple presented to the Central Government by the VHP.

P.V. NarasimhaDec. 6, 1992: RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal and BJP 'kar sewaks' demolish disputed structure and make a makeshift temple there. P.V. Narasimha Rao-led Congress government was in power at the Centre. Kalyan Singh-led BJP ruled UP at that time. Incident triggers large-scale rioting in the country.

Dec. 16, 1992: P.V. Narasimha Rao-led Congress government sets up one-man M.S. Liberhan Commission to probe the circumstances that led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

Jun. 30, 2009: The Liberhan Commission submits its report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The report holds 68 people culpable, including top BJP leaders, L.K. Advani, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, and former NDA PM Atal Bihar Vajpayee, and more critically, Kalyan Singh, former UP Chief Minister, in whose regime the Babri masjid was demolished. The report accused the RSS of being the chief architect of the demolition. The single-member panel, one of the country's longest running inquiry commissions, cost the government Rs.8 crore.

July 26, 2010: Special Bench of the Allahabad High Court reserves the judgment in the title suit.

Sept. 24: The Court to announce much-awaited Ayodhya verdict.

Sept 23: The Supreme Court delays the Allahabad High Court verdict by a week.

Sept 28: The apex court gives the go-ahead to the high court to pronounce its verdict in over 60-year-old case.

Sept 30: A three-Judge Bench of the Allahabad HC delivers the judgment.




Allahabad HC website crashes

New Delhi, September 30
The Allahabad High Court website crashed here today after tens of thousands tried to access the portal ahead of the Ayodhya land row verdict.

The website had earlier reported that the judgement would be delivered at 4 pm, but it went inaccessible around that very time.

On twitter, a user lamented: “In wake of verdict, the Allahabad HC website has badly crashed... and I have slim hopes (for) quick restoration either. Hey Ram!” The verdict was among the top two topics on Twitter, the other being Hollywood actor Tony Curtis, who died today.

Ban on bulk SMSes extended

The government today extended the ban on bulk SMSes and MMSes till tomorrow in view of the Ayodhya verdict on the title suit. “We have decided to extend the ban by a day in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs,” a senior DoT official said.

The government was apprehensive that some extreme elements might try to foment trouble by inciting communal passions and the measure aimed at checking any such attempt, he added. — Agencies



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