The very famous ‘Ayodhya Dispute’ in India is a socio-religious, political debate centering a plot of land located in the city of Ayodhya at Faizabad District, Uttar Pradesh. Traditionally, the issue revolves around access to this site as Hindus claim it to be the birthplace of Lord Rama and Muslims state it as the historical location of Babri Masjid which was demolished in 1992.
Post Babri Masjid demolition in 1992 by a political rally of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad a land title case was lodged in Allahabad High court. The verdict of which was given on 30th September 2010.
After subsequent hearings, the bench of three judges ordered that the 2.77 acres of Ayodhya land be divided equally among three parties namely Infant Rama or Ram Lalla represented by Hindu Maha Sabha, Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara. Each of them was decreed to have one-third of the total land. Though the three-bench judge agreed that a temple structure or a temple predated the same Mosque site.
After various proceedings over the years, finally, the argument on the Ayodhya case has to be concluded by all the parties within 17th October in Supreme Court. As the final week of the hearing proceeded SC finished hearing all arguments one hour before the set deadline. A written note has to be submitted in the next three days. It is likely that the SC bench of judges will sit tomorrow in order to have a closed-door proceeding to discuss the mediation panel report.
Hindu Side Proceedings:
Senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan representing Ram Lalla said that Muslim parties could not prove complete ejection of Hindu presence or exclusive possession on the land. Ranjit Kumar another lawyer from the Hindu side said that Hindus have the existing right to pray at that site considering it as Ram Janmasthan.
Further to this another lawyer Vikas Singh said “The original place we are dealing with was the Ram Janmasthaan. In spite of the conversion of the site, Hindus continued to uninterruptedly offer prayers there.”
Muslim Side Proceedings:
During the hearing session, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan appearing from the Muslim side said that the Hindu side relies upon the statements made by the people in the year 2000. This he said in response to the hearing made saying that Waqf Board has no right on the land of Ayodhya as there was no Mutawalli.
Dhavan also mentioned that the sultanate was established in the 1200s and when Islam came to India it was an attractive religion in terms of equality. He said “My plea is not a plea of title alone. It is of Waqf. My plea is not adverse possession, it is an alternative plea.” He also added saying “The building that was destroyed was of Muslims. The right of its reconstruction, its restoration can only be with the Muslims.”
In order to reach an amicable solution, the Supreme Court is likely to place its judgment by November 17th. When the apex court will sit down to apply its mind on the arguments placed on the last 40-days Marathon hearing put forth by all the parties, the question would not simply restrict whether the disputed land belongs to Hindus or Muslims.
This would involve several aspects like the limitations and complexities of archaeology, the certainty of the birthplace of Lord Ram, the devotion and tradition and most importantly which party has titleholder in its favor as per the land record.