Ayodhya dispute: SC likely to hear pleas against HC verdict on Monday


New Delhi:
The Supreme Court is likely to hear Monday a batch of pleas challenging the Allahabad High Court’s 2010 verdict by which the disputed land on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid area in Ayodhya was divided into three parts.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph would hear the appeals filed in the matter.

On September 27, the apex court had declined to refer to a five-judge constitution bench the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgment that a mosque was not integral to Islam which had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.

In a majority verdict of 2:1, a three-judge bench headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra had said the civil suit has to be decided on the basis of evidence and the previous verdict has no relevance to this issue.

Justice Ashok Bhushan, who had penned the judgment for himself and the Chief Justice of India, had said it has to find out the context in which the five-judge bench had delivered the 1994 verdict. 

However, Justice S Abdul Nazeer had disagreed with the two judges and had said whether a mosque is integral to Islam has to be decided considering religious belief which requires detailed consideration.

The court had on September 27 said the civil suit on land dispute would be heard by a three-judge bench on October 29.

The issue whether a mosque is integral to Islam had cropped up when the three-judge bench was hearing the appeals filed against the Allahabad High Court’s verdict.

The three-judge high court bench, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had ordered that the 2.77 acres of land be partitioned equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

Plea to declare disputed area of Ayodhya as national heritage

New Delhi: A petitioner who sought that the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri masjid site at Ayodhya be declared a national heritage was today asked by the Delhi High Court to file a representation in this regard before the Centre.

A bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar did not issue notice on the PIL and instead asked petitioner advocate Anu Mehta to make a representation before the Union Ministry of Culture in this regard.

The bench said that the Centre may consider the representation and take a decision within three months.

The PIL has sought a direction to the government to notify and acquire the disputed site and the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act and declare it as the national heritage.

It further sought a direction to the Centre to preserve and protect the site, take necessary action “to preserve the monuments — the ancient temple as well as the mosque — independently”.

“If there was a requirement to separate the superstructure from the original structure, i.e., the entire monument at the site, the sanctity of both monuments should be maintained,” the plea said.

It said that the disputed site was of archaeological importance and had “ancient monuments, antique artefacts and antiques which constitute our national heritage”.

“As per the Act, duty is cast upon the State to preserve ancient monuments and sites and accordingly the said site/monument ought to be accorded place and status of national importance, acquired from private owners and preserved by the state for sake of historical and cultural preservation of the country,” the plea said.

Ayodhya: SC nod for tarpaulin change, don’t disturb status quo

The authorities to change the tarpaulin and ropes at Lord Rama’s make-shift temple in Ayodhya without disturbing the status quo on the 67 acre land adjacent to the disputed site has been permited by the Supreme Court of India.
A Bench comprising justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai told that the tarpaulin sheet and ropes of the same size as placed presently could be changed with new ones at the site of make-shift temple under the supervision of the two observers.

The bench said two judicial officers appointed by the Allahabad High Court in March 2003 as Commissioners to keep it (High Court updated about the situation there in Ayodhya) would supervise as observer for the change of tarpaulin and ropes.

The bench also told that the two judicial officers would “additionally see that the order of status quo is duly maintained”.

It declined the plea of the Registrar of the High Court to relieve the judicial officers from performing their duty as Commissioners.

The Registrar had made an application stating that since the issues relating to the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya was now before the apex court, the two judicial officers, who had been appointed as Commissioners on High Court order, should be relieved of their duty.

The judicial officers were assigned to visit the place fortnightly for keeping it updated about the situation there in Ayodhya.

The bench also said it would not allow any impalement in the matter and would only hear those who are party to it.

The apex court during the last hearing on the matter on January 28 had also made it clear that status quo ordered on 67 acre land adjacent to the disputed site in Ayodhya should not be disturbed while carrying out excavation activity in the vicinity.

The Commissioner, Faizabad District, also said there was a need for permission from the apex court for carrying out work relating to the tarpaulin and ropes at the make-shift temple.

The apex court had admitted several petitions challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict of three-way division of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya.

It had stayed the operation of the September 30, 2010 verdict of the high court. The apex court on May 9, 2011 had dubbed as “strange” the high court’s verdict of three-way division of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya and had stayed its operation saying none of the parties had demanded partition of the land.

While ordering status quo at the site, which means that prayers at Ram Lalla’s make-shift temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya would be going on as usual, the court had restrained any kind of religious activity on the adjacent 67 acre land, which had been taken over by the Centre.

All the parties to the suit had expressed satisfaction over the Supreme Court’s May 9, 2011 order.

Status quo on land near Ayodhya site should not be disturbed:

The Supreme Court made it clear that status quo ordered on 67 acre land Allahabad High Courtadjacent to the disputed site in Ayodhya should not be disturbed while carrying out excavation activity in the vicinity.

“We are hopeful that this status quo will continue. While doing the excavation this status quo should not be disturbed,” a Bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai said.

The remarks were made by the Bench during the hearing of issues relating to a permission seeking to change the tarpaulin and ropes at Lord Rama’s make-shift temple at the disputed site and to relieve two judicial officers appointed at the direction of the Allahabad High Court since 2003 to visit the place fortnightly for keeping it updated about the situation there in Ayodhya.

The Registrar of the High Court made an application stating that since the issues relating to the the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya was now before the apex court, the two judicial officers, who had been appointed as Commissioners on High Court order should be relieved from their duty.

The Commissioner, Faizabad District, also said there was a need for permission from the apex court for carrying out work relating to the tarpaulin and ropes at the make shift temple.

The Bench was told that earlier it was on the order of the High Court such works were done.

While posting the matter for hearing on February 18, the Bench said it may allow the prayers made in the applications but will not allow any more impleadment in the case.

“Change of tarpaulin, ropes etc can be allowed but nothing should change the status quo,” the Bench said.

The apex court had admitted several petitions challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict of three-way division of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya.

It had stayed the operation of the September 30, 2010 verdict of the high court.

The apex court on May 9, 2011 had dubbed as “strange” the high court’s verdict of three-way division of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya and had stayed its operation saying none of the parties had demanded partition of the land.

While ordering status quo at the site, which means that prayers at Ram Lalla’s make-shift temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya would be going on as usual, the Court had restrained any kind of religious activity on the adjacent 67 acre land, which had been taken over by the Centre.

All the parties to the suit had expressed satisfaction over the Supreme Court’s May 9 order.

 

PTI