The Indian Supreme Court on Saturday ruled that the disputed Babri Mosque land should be given to the Hindus, while ordering the Muslims be allotted an alternate land as a replacement for the destroyed Babri Mosque.
The court noted that the demolition of Babri Mosque in 1992 was a violation of law. The land for the mosque will be acquired by the government.
At the beginning of the hearing, Indian Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi announced that the verdict was unanimous.
“Muslims should not be deprived of a structure; will get alternative site for masjid”, the Indian Supreme Court said.
The order directed the Indian government that it should within three months formulate a scheme envisaging setting up of trust. It added that the possession of inner and outer courtyards will be handed over to the trust.
The Indian top court issued the order while reading out its verdict on the ownership of a centuries-old religious site claimed by both majority Hindus and Muslims.
The trust will provide for construction of the temple on the disputed land.
It also ordered that a suitable plot of land measuring five acres to be handed over to Sunni Waqf Board either by the Indian government or the state government.
The court further gave liberty to Sunni Wakf Board to construct a mosque on the allotted land.
While reading out the verdict, Justice Gogoi said the decision was taken on the basis of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Quoting the ASI report, the Bench said, “The underlying structure in the disputed site was not of Islamic origin, however the report does not support whether the temple was demolished.”
The court in its verdict also said the mosque was not built on a vacant land, as claimed by the Muslim petitioners.
However, the top Indian court ruled that the destruction of mosque was against the rule of law.
“This court must accept faith and accept belief of worshippers,” India’s Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi’s was quoted as saying. “Court should preserve balance.”
The court decision is likely to have a significant impact on fraught relations between India’s Hindus and Muslims, who constitute 14% of its 1.3 billion people.
Muslims said they prayed at the medieval era Babri Mosque for centuries until idol of Ram deity was surreptitiously placed inside the mosque in 1949.
while, Hindus believe that the mosque was built under Mughal ruler Babur after destroying a Hindu temple. They believe that the site of the mosque is the birthplace of one of their most revered deities, Lord Ram.
The destruction of the mosque in 1992 sparked massive Hindu-Muslim violence that left 2,000 people dead.
After the demolition of the mosque, Hindus and Muslims took the issue to a lower court, which in 2010 ruled that the disputed land should be divided into three parts — two for Hindus and one for Muslims.
That was challenged in the Supreme Court by the two communities represented by Hindu Maha Sabha, the Sunni Waqf Board, and the Nirmohi Akhara.
Modi had promised to build the temple in 2014 elections that brought him to power.