In a unanimous and historical ruling, a five-judge Constitution bench of India’s Supreme Court, above, on Saturday allotted the disputed Ayodhya land to the Ramjanmabhoomi Trust.
It ordered allotment of a five-acre alternative land for Muslims to build a mosque in Ayodhya.
The disputed land is in the government’s possession and a trust will be constituted to formulate plans in 120 days to build a Ram temple.
The ruling said the mosque was not constructed over vacant land. It backed the report by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) that the Babri Masjid was built over a temple. However, it said ASI did not give a clear answer on whether the temple was razed to build the dispute structure.
The five-judge bench said Muslims were unable to produce any proof to establish their rights over the inner courtyard. They also did not have evidence on offering of namaz (prayers) there.
Hindu worships at Ram Chabutra and Sita Rasoi indicate an open exclusive unimpeded possession of the outer courtyard, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.
‘New dawn for India’
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the court ruling marks a new dawn for India as it has been accepted by all.
It also shows India is a robust and vibrant democracy. People should leave all bitterness behind and move forward, Modi said.
Home Minister Amit Shah said the ruling will further strengthen India’s unity.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh hailed the top court’s “historic and landmark” ruling and appealed to India’s 1.3 billion people to maintain peace and harmony.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said it reinforces all the values of a united India.
India Muslim Personal Law Board (IMPLB) said they are not satisfied with the order.
Babri Action Panel’s lawyer Zafaryab Jilani said they are especially upset over the court’s decision to give the land of the inner courtyard to Hindus.
After going through the full text of the Supreme Court order, the board will decide whether to seek review of the ruling, he said.
On the five-acre alternative land being given to Muslims, Jilani said it is of no value to them since the mosque area cannot be exchanged for anything.
IMPLB member Kamal Farooqui said the court is giving them 5 acres of land for their 67 acres.
Asaduddin Owaisi of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen said the judgement is a victory of faith over facts adding that a court verdict is final but not infallible. Muslims do not need the 5-acre land as a donation, he added.
Zafar Farooqui of Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board said they will not file any curative petition against the judgement.
Iqbal Ansari, one of the litigants, expressed happiness over the court’s order adding that it is finally curtains down on this long pending issue.
The Indian Union Muslim League said they respect the verdict and people must exercise self-restraint.
Trinamool Congress remained silent on the court order.
Mohan Bhagwat, chief of BJP’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, said truth and justice have prevailed and there are no winners or losers after the ruling.
Alok Kumar of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad said people had been waiting for this day for over seven decades.
Veteran BJP leader LK Advani called it a moment of fulfilment.
Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said it is the best judgement the court could ever have come up with. It is time to put the past behind and move forward, he added.
Senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, representing deity ‘Ram Lalla’, called it a balanced verdict.
In the meantime, India condemned Pakistan’s criticisms on the ruling, saying it is a civil and internal matter related to the rule of law and equal respect for all faiths that Islamabad may not be familiar with.