NEWS AYODHYA CJI
NEW DELHI: The eagerly awaited Supreme Court judgement on the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid case will be delivered in stages, starting at 10.30am, Saturday. The issue was on fire since the late 1980s, culminating in the demolition of the Babri Mosque by the pro-RSS organisations in 1992, resulting in massive riots in several parts of the country, including Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai, Gujarat etc.
It is likely the reading out of the judgement will take days and the final word might not emerge on Saturday itself. It is also likely the final word can be heard on Saturday itself.
|CJI Ranjan Gogoi|
The announcement was made following a decision taken by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in consultation with the four other judges forming the Constitution bench that heard views in sessions spread over 40 days. The bench is headed by the CJI, who would retire on November 17. Hence, the hasty final phase. If the order is not delivered before his retirement, the whole process of review of the Allahabad High Court order of 2010 would have to be gone through afresh by a newly constituted bench. Appreciably, the CJI made it a point to take matters to this level.
The bench had ended hearings on a batch of 14 appeals, on October16, and adjourned for the Diwali court vacations. It was on November 4 that the court re-convened. The CJI, on his part, also made it a point to call in top police officials from sensitive states like Delhi, UP, Maharashtra and Kerala to take their views on how they were equipped to handle any law and order situation in the event of the judgement angering any section of the society – meaning Hindus and Muslims. The RSS and some Muslim organisations have made it clear they will fully abide by the court decision. The UP government has declared a holiday for educational institutions till Monday, as part of the security arrangements in the aftermath of the verdict.
Apart from the CJI, the other members of the bench are Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer. The dispute is over 2.77acres of land in Ayodhya, where the Babri Masjid stood. Hindus claim the masjid in the name of invader and emperor Babar was built after the invasion of India by demolishing a temple. Hindus claim this was where Lord Ram was born. Muslims reject such claims.
In September 2010, the Allahabad high court ordered a division of the disputed land into three – equally between the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla, the parties involved in the case. All the three, as also others, moved the Supreme Court in appeal.
The Godhra train burning incident and the Gujarat riots that followed, which killed hundreds, were an offshoot of the Ayodhya standoff between Hindus and Muslims. A train in which the Kar Sevaks (volunteers) for building a Ram Temple at the site where Babri Masjid stood, was set on fire allegedly by Muslim fanatics in Godhra town of Gujarat in 2002. Subsequent riots killed nearly 2000 people, apart from an equal number of killings in the aftermath of the Babri demolition in 1992. —IHN-NN
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