The Background, New Delhi:
The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions in connection with the Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid land dispute case. The five member-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, today reserved its judgment, after a marathon of 40 days of hearing the case.
It is expected and very likely that the judgment would be pronounced by the top court between November 4-17, as the CJI is going to retire on November 17.
While talking to media, Varun Sinha, Hindu Mahasabha’s lawyer said, “Supreme Court has reserved the order and has made it clear that the decision will come, in this case, within 23 days.”
As the proceedings today concludes in the case after 40 days, it turned out to be the second longest hearing ever in the history of the Supreme Court, after Kesavananda Bharati case, which went on for 68 days.
The four other judges, in the five- judge Constitution bench which heard the case were Justices Sharad Arvind Bobde, Ashok Bhusan, DY Chandrachud and S Abdul Nazeer. The apex court was hearing the case from August 6 this year, on a day-to-day basis (five days a week) after the mediation process, conducted by a three member Mediation panel, headed by Justice (Retired) FMI Kalifullah, in the case failed.
Supreme Court is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the September 30, 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment trifurcating the 2.77 acres of the disputed land at Ayodhya into three equal parts to Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara. These three parties- Ram Lalla, Sunni Wakf Board and Nirmohi Akhara- however, knocked the doors of the apex court challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict and sought modification of the High Court judgment.
There were some dramatic scenes on the last day of the hearing as the proceedings started in the morning. Senior lawyer Rajeev Dhavan, who represented the Sunni Waqf Board in the hearings, tore the pages of a book called Ayodhya Revisited handed over by Hindu Mahasabha lawyer Vikas Singh. The map reportedly shows the spot where the Hindu deity Ram is believed to have been born. “You can shred it further, Mr Dhavan,” Ranjan Gogoi told the senior counsel.
The 16th century mosque was built by the Mughal emperor Babar. During the colonial rule of the British it became the subject of dispute in the 19th century. In December 1949, Hindutva activists clandestinely placed idols of Ram and Sita under the central dome of the mosque following which the premises was locked by the UP state government.
In February 1986, the locks were reopened as part of using communal politics for electoral gains by the Congress government led by Rajiv Gandhi. But the greatest beneficiary of this sinister strategy was none other than Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It has used the Ramjanmabhoomi issue to polarize the society along religious lines quite effectively. On December 6, 1992, a large mob of political activists climbed atop the mosque and began demolishing it. Senior BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and others were present at the site. Within few hours, the mosque was reduced to rubble.
With inputs from Agencies