NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will pronounce its historic judgement in the decades-old Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case today. The landmark verdict will be delivered at 10:30 am.
The top court will deliver its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging September 30, 2010, Allahabad High Court order, which trifurcated the 2.77 acres disputed land between the Nirmohi Akhara, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, and Ramlalla Virajman.
The case was heard by a five-judge Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, and S Abdul Nazeer for a marathon 40 days on a day-to-day basis and reserved its order on October 16.
Hearing in the case commenced on August 6 after the court-appointed mediation panel, comprising of spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Justice (retired) FMI Kalifullah and senior advocate and renowned mediator Sriram Panchu failed to arrive at an out-of-court settlement in the case.
The 40-day long proceedings turned out to be the second-longest hearing in the history of the Supreme Court, after the historic Kesavananda Bharati case which went on for 68 days.
On Friday, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who is set to demit office on November 17 held a meeting with Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari and director general of police (DGP) Om Prakash Singh and took stock of security arrangements in the state.
Here is a timeline of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case:
- 1528: Babri Masjid built by Mir Baqi, commander of Mughal emperor Babur.
- 1885: Mahant Raghubir Das files plea in Faizabad district court seeking permission to build a canopy outside the Babri Masjid structure. Court rejects the plea.
- 1949: Idols of Ram Lalla placed under a central dome outside the disputed structure.
- 1950: Gopal Simla Visharad files suit in Faizabad district court for rights to worship the idols of Ram Lalla.
- 1950: Paramahansa Ramachandra Das files suit for the continuation of worship and keeping the idols.
- 1959: Nirmohi Akhara files suit seeking possession of the site.
- 1961: UP Sunni Central Waqf Board files suit for possession of the site.
- Feb 1, 1986: Local court orders the government to open the site for Hindu worshippers. Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister when the decision was taken.
- 1989: Bhagwan Sri Ramlalla Virjman at Sri Ram Janam Boomi Ayodhya, Asthan Sri Ram Janam Bhoomi Ayodhya file a title suit represented by “next friend” Deoki Nandan Agarwala, a former judge of the Allahabad High Court
- Aug 14, 1989: Allahabad HC ordered maintenance of status quo in respect of the disputed structure.
- Sept 25, 1990: BJP leader LK Advani launches Rath Yatra from Somnath in Gujarat
- Dec 6, 1992: Babri Masjid was demolished by karsevaks.
- Apr 3, 1993: ‘Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act’ passed for the acquisition of land by Centre in the disputed area. Various writ petitions, including one by Ismail Faruqui, filed in Allahabad HC challenging various aspects of the Act. Supreme Court, exercising its jurisdiction under Article 139A, transferred the writ petitions, which were pending in the High Court.
- Oct 24, 1994: SC says in the historic Ismail Faruqui case that mosque was not integral to Islam.
- April 2002: HC begins hearing on determining who owns the disputed site.
- March 13, 2003: SC says, in the Aslam alias Bhure case, no religious activity of any nature be allowed at the acquired land.
- March 14: SC says interim order passed should be operative till disposal of the civil suits in Allahabad HC to maintain communal harmony.
- Sep 30, 2010: HC, in a 2:1 majority, rules three-way division of disputed area between Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
- May 9, 2011: SC stays HC verdict on Ayodhya land dispute.
- Feb 26, 2016: Subramanian Swamy files plea in SC seeking construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site.
- Mar 21, 2017: CJI JS Khehar suggests out-of-court settlement among rival parties.
- Aug 7: SC constitutes a three-judge bench to hear pleas challenging the 1994 verdict of the Allahabad HC.
- Aug 8: UP Shia Central Waqf Board tells SC mosque could be built in a Muslim-dominated area at a reasonable distance from the disputed site.
- Sep 11: SC directs Chief Justice of the Allahabad HC to nominate two additional district judges within ten days as observers to deal with the upkeep of the disputed site.
- Nov 20: UP Shia Central Waqf Board tells SC temple can be built in Ayodhya and mosque in Lucknow.
- Dec 1: Thirty-two civil rights activists file a plea challenging the 2010 verdict of the Allahabad HC.
- Feb 8, 2018: SC starts hearing civil appeals.
- Mar 14: SC rejects all interim pleas, including Swamy’s, seeking to intervene as parties in the case.
- Apr 6: Rajeev Dhavan files plea in SC to refer the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement to a larger bench.
- Jul 20: SC reserves verdict.
- Sep 27: SC declines to refer the case to a five-judge Constitution bench. Case to be heard by a newly constituted three-judge bench on October 29.
- Oct 29: SC fixes the case for the first week of January before an appropriate bench, which will decide the schedule of hearing.
- Dec 24: SC decides to take up petitions on the case for hearing on January 4.
- Jan 4, 2019: SC says an appropriate bench constituted by it will pass an order on January 10 for fixing the date of hearing in the title case.
- Jan 8: SC sets up a five-judge Constitution Bench to hear the case headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud.
- Jan 10: Justice U U Lalit recuses himself prompting SC to reschedule the hearing for January 29 before a new bench.
- Jan 25: SC reconstitutes 5-member Constitution Bench to hear the case. The new bench comprises Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.
- Jan 29: Centre moves SC seeking permission to return the 67-acre acquired land around the disputed site to original owners.
- Feb 20: SC decides to hear the case on Feb 26.
- Feb 26: SC favours mediation, fixes March 5 for order on whether to refer the matter to a court-appointed mediator.
- Mar 6: SC reserves order on whether the land dispute can be settled through mediation.
- Apr 9: Nirmohi Akhara opposes Centre’s plea to return acquired land around Ayodhya site to owners
- May 9: The three-member mediation committee submits interim report to the SC
- Jul 18: SC allows mediation process to continue, seeks outcome report by Aug 1
- Aug 1: Report of mediation submitted in sealed cover to SC
- Aug 6: SC commences day-to-day hearing on the land dispute
- Oct 16: SC concludes hearing; reserves order