New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India is going to declare its verdict on the Ayodhya-Babri Masjid case on November 9.
After a 40 day marathon hearing, the constitutional bench, led by the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, reserved its judgement on the appeals filed by the Hindu and Muslim sides challenging the September 2010 verdict of Allahabad High Court which ordered a 3-way division of the disputed 2.77 acres of the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land equally among Ram Lalla, the Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Waqf Board.
What is the Ayodhya Dispute about?
It is a socio-religious and political dispute in India regarding a plot of land located at Ayodhya, a city in the Faizabad district, officially Ayodhya district, of Uttar Pradesh. The site is regarded holy by the Hindus, who believe it to be the birth place of Lord Ram. They believe there was a previously constructed Hindu temple at the site which was demolished to build up a mosque, Babri Masjid. On the other hand, the Muslims say that the land is their sacred religious place, a mosque, built by Mir Baqi in 1528. Hence, both parties claim the entitlement over this 2.44 acres of land.
Chronological order of significant events:
1528: Babri Masjid is constructed by the commander of Mughal emperor Babur, Mir Baqi.
1853:The first recorded occurrence of violence at the disputed site takes place during the reign of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh. Nirmohis claim that a Hindu temple had been demolished during Babur’s times to construct the mosque.
1859: The British administration constructs a fence at the site to divide the places of worship. Muslims are allowed to use the inner court, Hindus are allowed the outer court.
1885: Plea by Mahant Raghubir Das is filed in Faizabad district court seeking permission to build a canopy outside the Babri Masjid. The plea is rejected by the court.
1949: Idols of Ramlalla are placed under central dome.
1950: Gopal Simla Visharad files suit for the rights to worship the idols of Ram Lalla in the Faizabad district court.
-Paramahansa Ramachandra das files suit for the continuation of worship and keeping the idols of Ramlalla.
-While the inner courtyard remains locked, prayers are allowed.
1959: Nirmohi Akhara files suit seeking possession of the site.
1961:-The Sunni Central Waqf board files a case against the placing of idols inside the mosque.
1981: UP Sunni Central Waqf Board files suit for possession of the site.
1984: Hindu groups form a committee to initiate the construction of the Ram temple at the disputed site. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L K Advani takes over the leadership of the movement.
February 1986: Local court, on a plea by Harishankar Dubey, orders the government to open the site for Hindu worshippers. Muslim groups protest; Babri Masjid Action Committee(BMAC) is formed.
August 1989: Allahabad HC ordered maintenance of status quo at the site of the disputed structure.
November 1989:The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) lays the foundation of a Ram temple on the land next to the Babri Masjid following permission from the then Rajiv Gandhi government.
September 1990: The then BJP President L K Advani launches Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya, gets arrested in Samastipur in November.
December 6, 1992: Babri Masjid is demolished by the karsevaks. Some of the most dangerous riots across the country follow.
December 16, 1992: The central government, headed by P V Narasimha Rao, sets up a commission of enquiry under Justice M S Liberhan.
1993: ‘Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act’ passed for the acquisition of land by Centre in the disputed area.
-Various writ petitions filed at Allahabad High Court challenging various aspects of the Act.
April 2002: The High Court of Allahabad begins hearing on determining who owns the disputed site.
Jan 2003: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) begins a court-ordered survey to find out whether a temple existed on the site.
March 2003: The Supreme Court of India says no religious activity of any nature be allowed at the acquired land and states that interim order passed should be operative till disposal of civil suits in Allahabad High Court.
Aug 2003: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) finds evidence of temple beneath the mosque, but Muslim Organisations oppose the findings.
Sept 2003: A court in Uttar Pradesh rules that seven Hindu leaders should stand trial for instigating violence and the demolition of the Babri Mosque. LK Advani, deputy Prime Minister at that time, doesn’t face any charge.
June 2009: The Liberhan commission submits its report after17 years, blames leading politicians from the BJP for a role in razing the Mosque.
September 2010: Allahabad High Court, in a 2:1 majority, rules a 3-way division of the disputed Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land equally among Ram Lalla, the Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Waqf Board.
May 2011: Supreme Court stays the High Court’s verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute.
February 2016: Subramanian Swamy files plea in Supreme Court seeking construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site.
March 2017: The Supreme Court says charges against Advani and other leaders cannot be dropped in the Babri mosque demolition case.
-Cheif Justice of India JS Khehar suggests an out-of-court settlement.
August 2017: SC constitutes a three-judge bench to hear pleas challenging the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad HC.
February 2018: SC starts hearing civil appeals.
March 2018: SC rejects all interim pleas, including Swamy’s, seeking to intervene as parties in the case.
September 2018: Supreme Court declines to refer the case to a five-judge constitutional bench.
December 2018: 32 civil rights activists file plea challenging the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad HC.
The final hearings in the Ayodhya appeals begin before a Bench of Chief Justice of India (now retired) Dipak Misra, Justices Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer.
January 4: A Two-judge CJI Bench again says an “appropriate Bench” will take up the appeals on January 10.
January 8: SC notifies that a five-judge bench led by the CJI and Justices S.A. Bobde, N.V. Ramana, U.U. Lalit and D.Y. Chandrachud will hear the Ayodhya title dispute appeals on January 10.
January 10: Justice U.U. Lalit recuses himself from the Bench.
January 29: Justices Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer replace Justices N.V. Ramana and U.U. Lalit.
-Central government moves to supreme court seeking permission to return 67 acres of land to original owners.
February 26: The Supreme Court proposes a court-monitored mediation process between the Hindu and Muslim parties contesting the Ayodhya dispute.
March 8: The Bench refers the Ayodhya dispute for mediation by the panel headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice F.M.I. Kalifulla and included spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu.
April 9: Nirmohi Akhara opposes Central government’s plea to return acquired land around the disputed site.
August 1: report by mediation panel submitted to Supreme Court in a sealed envelope.
August 2: Efforts to mediate a settlement between Hindu and Muslim parties in the Ayodhya title dispute cases fails, a Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to hear appeals on day to day basis from August 6.
September 16: Ayodhya dispute parties want to resume talks, mediation panel tells Supreme Court.
October 4: Supreme Court decides to wrap up hearing on October 17.
October 16: Supreme Court concludes hearing; reserves order; gives three days to contesting parties to file written notes on ‘moulding of relief’.