NEWS BABRI VERDICT
NEW DELHI: The land on which Babri Masjid stood will be given in its entirety – 2.77acres– to the Centre to erect a Hindu temple, and a five-acre plot will be given to Muslims as compensation for this, the Supreme Court ordered in its verdict, Saturday.
The judgement given by the five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, was unanimous. The court said there was strong archaeological evidence to show the Babri Masjid was constructed over a plot where a Hindu structure (not necessarily a temple) existed.
Significantly, the apex court order also rejected any role for the pro-VHP Ram Janmsthan Nyas in the construction of the new temple. The Vishwa Hindu Parisahad (VHP) was in the forefront of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, creating a communally volatile situation in the country.
The Sunni Waqf Board, a party to the case, said it accepted the SC verdict. The RSS had stated earlier that it would accept the verdict irrespective of which way the court went.
The Modi government deserves credit for creating the conditions for a final settlement to the dispute, granted that so far there is no serious dissenting voice, and several organisations and parties have whole-heartedly welcomed the SC order.
The apex court also said the placement of an idol in the disputed land, in 1948, was wrong. It also said the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid was done (by VHP and others) in a violation of the court order.
The Centre, the court said, should set up a trust to build the Ram Temple, and also facilitate the grant of five acres of land to the Sunni Wakf Board to construct a mosque. In three months’ time, a board of trustees should be set up by the Centre to construct the temple.
The apex court, which heard appeals against an earlier Allahabad High Court order, rejected the pleas of the Nirmohi Akhara and said it has no priestly right over the disputed land. The court said it could, however, be given representation in the new Trust. The court also dismissed pleas from the Shia Wakf Board to have any right over the disputed land. –IHN-NN
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