SC to hear plea against 1993 central law on land acquisition near disputed site in Ayodhya : The Tribune India

SC to hear plea against 1993 central law on land acquisition near disputed site in Ayodhya

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday said it would hear a fresh petition challenging the validity of a 1993 central law by which the government acquired 67.703 acres of land, including the disputed premises of Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.

SC to hear plea against 1993 central law on land acquisition near disputed site in Ayodhya

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi tagged the matter with the main petition on title dispute pending before a constitution bench. Tribune file



Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 15

The Supreme Court on Friday said it would hear a fresh petition challenging the validity of a 1993 central law by which the government acquired 67.703 acres of land, including the disputed premises of Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said the petition would be taken up by a Constitution Bench hearing the cross-appeals against the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad High Court.

Seven devotees of Lord Ram had on February 4 moved the Supreme challenging a 1993 Central law on acquisition of land adjoining the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site at Ayodhya on the ground that Parliament didn’t have the legislative competence to acquire the land.

The PV Narasimha Rao government had acquired 67.703 acres—including the 2.77 acres—through the Ayodhya Act in 1993. The acquisition was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1994 in Ismail Faruqui’s case in which it had said if the Centre wanted to return the acquired land to its original owners it may do so. The Ram Janambhoomi Nyas was the owner of 42 acres of the non-disputed land before acquisition and it has sought return of excess land acquired.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Centre too had moved the Supreme Court late last month for permission to return 67.390 acres “non-disputed” land acquired by it in 1993 around the disputed Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya to its original owners.

The the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)  had requested it to modify its March 31, 2003, order to maintain status quo on surplus land until resolution of the dispute and permit it to return the “non-disputed” land around the disputed site to the original owners, particularly the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas. 

The Allahabad High Court had on September 30, 2010 ordered dividing the disputed land at Ayodhya equally between Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhada and Sunni Wakf Board. The order has been challenged before the Supreme Court which is seized of 14 cross-appeals. A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by CJI Gogoi was to take up the matter on January 29 but due to unavailability of Justice SA Bobde the hearing was cancelled.

Hindus believe that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya thousands of years ago. During Mughal Emperor Babar’s rule, a mosque was constructed at the place in 1528 after destroying the temples existing there and various Hindu groups have been building pressure on the BJP-led government to take steps to facilitate building of Ram Temple at Ayodhya.

Challenging the constitutional validity of ‘The Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act, 1993’, the petitioners have contended that the state legislature had the exclusive power to make provisions relating to the management of affairs of religious institutions inside its territory.

They sought a direction restraining the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government “from interfering in Puja, Darshan, and performance of rituals at the places of worship situated within the land measuring 67.703 acres acquired by the impugned Act, particularly at the land belonging to Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Nyas, Manas Bhawan, Sankat Mochan Mandir, Ram Janmsthan Temple, Janki Mahal and Katha Mandap…”

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