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M.Siddiq v/s Mahant Suresh Das: The Ayodhya Case

The Ayodhya dispute is a long-running and highly contentious legal and socio-religious conflict centered on a piece of land in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. The core issue is whether the site, where the Babri Masjid stood until its demolition in 1992, was originally a Hindu temple marking the birthplace of Lord Rama.
Key Events Leading Up to the Case:
  • 1528: The Babri Masjid was built by Mir Baqi, a general under the Mughal emperor Babur.
  • 1859: The British colonial authorities erected a fence to separate the Hindu and Muslim places of worship at the site.
  • 1949: Idols of Lord Rama were placed inside the mosque, triggering legal disputes and prompting the government to lock down the site.
  • 1992: Hindu activists demolished the Babri Masjid, leading to widespread riots and escalating the legal battles.
Legal Journey
Over the years, both Hindu and Muslim parties filed numerous lawsuits regarding the Ayodhya site. The crucial case, M. Siddiq (D) Thr. Lrs. Vs. Mahant Suresh Das & Ors., brought all these cases together for a comprehensive hearing in the Supreme Court of India.

Key Judgments:

Allahabad High Court Judgment (2010):

  • The court decided that the disputed land should be divided into three parts:
    • One-third to the Hindu community for building a temple.
    • One-third to the Muslim community.
    • One-third to the Nirmohi Akhara, a Hindu sect.
  • This decision did not satisfy any of the parties involved, leading them to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Verdict (2019):

  • Unanimous Decision: On November 9, 2019, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court delivered a unanimous ruling.
  • Ownership: The court ruled that the entire disputed land should be given to a trust, to be established by the government, for the construction of a Ram temple.
  • Alternative Land for Muslims: The court ordered the government to provide the Sunni Waqf Board with a five-acre plot at a prominent location in Ayodhya for building a mosque.
  • Archaeological Evidence: The court noted that findings from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) suggested there was a structure beneath the mosque but did not definitively state it was a Hindu temple. However, the ASI report influenced the judgment.
  • Legal Standing: The court also recognized the deity "Ram Lalla Virajman" as a legal entity with rights.

Impact and Aftermath

  • Construction of the Ram Temple: After the Supreme Court's verdict, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the Ram Temple on August 5, 2020.
  • Muslim Community: The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board accepted the alternative land provided by the court. Plans are now underway to build a mosque and other facilities on this new site.
The Ayodhya verdict was a historic decision in India's legal history, aiming to settle a centuries-old dispute with major social, political, and religious implications. While the judgment sought to resolve the conflict, it also highlighted the careful balance the judiciary must maintain when dealing with issues deeply connected to faith and history.

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