New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS): In a historic judgement in the sensitive Ayodhya land dispute case, the Supreme Court on Saturday directed the Centre to form within three months a trust which will build a temple at the disputed site.
The Sunni Waqf Board, which was a party to the 7-decade-old title suit, should be given an alternate five-acre land at some other suitable place for construction of a mosque, a 5-member bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said in a unanimous judgement.
The Centre shall make suitable provisions by handing over the land to the trust, said the bench, which also comprised Chief Justice-designate Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.
The court said the title of the land can be decided only on legal advice.
The top court ruled that the Allahabad High Court verdict of 2010, giving land to the Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara, was wrong.
It rejected the claim of Nirmohi Akhara of being a 'shebait' (a devotee who serves the deity).
The Supreme Court, however, said that in the board of trustees, appropriate representation should be accorded to Nirmohi Akhara, even though its suit was dismissed.
The bench upheld the report of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which concluded that a temple existed at the disputed site.
There is clear evidence the Hindus believed Ram was born at the disputed site, it said.
There is evidence that 'Ram Chabutra' and 'Sita Rasoi' were worshipped by Hindus before the British came, the judgement said.
The court said travelogue and gazetteers cannot be the basis of adjudication of the title and that the nature of worship offered by Hindus over the years proves that they had always believed that Lord Ram was at the site.
Documents of 1856-57 show that Hindus were not obstructed from worshipping there, it said. Outer courtyard has been under exclusive possession of Hindus over the years, the court said.
The bench said Hindus consider the disputed site as the birthplace of Lord Ram and this belief is beyond judicial scrutiny.
Daijiworld Media Network - New Delhi
Here are live updates:
11.19 am - Historic verdict on Ayodhya land dispute case: Disputed land goes to Hindus while Muslim parties to get alternate land
11:12 am - SC gives Centre three months to set up trust. And the government will hand over the land to the trust. Sunni Waqf Board to get 5 acres of prominent land in Ayodhya.
11:09 am - There is no evidence that Muslims abandoned mosque. Hindus always believed birthplace of Lord Ram was in inner courtyard of mosque. It has been clearly established that Muslims offered prayer inside inner courtyard and Hindus offered prayers in outer courtyard: SC
11.07 am - The mosque was not abandoned by the Muslims. Though the Hindus continued to worship at Ram Chabutra but they claimed ownership on Garbh Garha also - SC
11. 05 am - There was continued assertion of rights by Hindus who put up railings at outer courtyard at Ram Chabutra and Sita Rasoi and continued to worship it: CJI
11.04 am - Evidence suggest Hindus were in possession of outer court yard, says SC
10.57 am - Title cannot be established on ground of faith, belief; they are kind of indicator for deciding dispute: SC
10.56 am - SC dismisses Shia Waqf Board's appeal, says land belongs to govt
10:55 am - ASI had not established whether temple was demolished to build the mosque, says SC
10.53 am - Hindus have faith and belief that Lord Ram was born under the dome. Faith is a matter of individual belief - SC
10.51 am - Supreme Court says that there is adequate material in ASI report to conclude that Babri Masjid was not constructed on vacant land. There was a structure underlying the disputed structure. The underlying structure was not an Islamic structure.
10.46 am - Supreme Court says the claim of Nirmohi Akhara is only of management. Nirmohi Akhara is not a 'Shabait'. Arguments were made on archaeology report. Archaeological Survey of India's credentials are beyond doubt and its findings can’t be neglected Ayodhya judgment.
10.43 am - This court must accept faith and accept belief of worshippers. Court should preserve balance: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi while reading out judgement
10:42 am - Babri mosque was built by Mir Baqi. It is inappropriate for the Court to get into area of theology: CJI
10:38 am - We have dismissed the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by Shia Waqf Board challenging the order of 1946 Faizabad Court: CJI Gogoi
10.33 am - The Ayodhya Judgment will be an unanimous judgment. Pronouncement of judgment to last for half an hour. Judges are signing the judgment.
10.30 am - All five Supreme Court judges who will deliver the verdict in Ayodhya land case have reached the Supreme Court
10.25 am - Home Minister Amit Shah calls a high level security meeting at his residence. National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, Intelligence Bureau (IB) Chief, Arvind Kumar, and other senior officials to attend the meeting.
10.15 am - Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi leaves for Supreme Court from his residence
New Delhi, Nov 9: The Supreme Court is all set to deliver its final verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute on Saturday, November 9. The verdict is likely to be announced at 10.30 am.
Outgoing Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi is expected to deliver the momentous ruling before he retires on November 17.
It may be recalled, the dispute which picked up steam in the late 1980s led to the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party, after it included building a grand temple for Ram as one of its election promises in the 1989 Lok Sabha elections. Then party president LK Advani soon embarked on a Somnath to Ayodhya Rath yatra, in 1990, and kar sewaks demolished the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. The trial in the demolition case is still at trial stage in a district court.
No single issue has impacted the national and state politics in the last 35 years as the Ayodhya dispute, which, though a litigation over the title deed of a piece of land, revolves around the contention that a mosque was built after demolition of an ancient temple which stood exactly at the birth place of Ram.