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Area under central dome is Ram Janmasthan: HC


Bhupendra Chaubey,CNN-IBN
Oct 01, 2010 at 08:46am IST

New Delhi: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday decided by majority that the land under the central dome of the demolished Babri Masjid is the Ram Janmasthan. While delivering its verdict in the contentious 60-year-old Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit case the three-judge special bench comprising of Justice Sibghat Ullah Khan, Justice Sudhir Agrawal and Justice Dharam Veer Sharma ruled that the 2.77 acres of land be divided into three parts - one-third to the party representing 'Ram Lala Virajman', one-third to Sunni Wakf Board and one-third to Nirmohi Akhara.

The High Court also dismissed the title suits of Sunni Wakf Board and Nirmohi Akhara and declared them to be time barred. The court also ruled that status quo be maintained for three months at the site in Ayodhya.

"The honorable judges have dismissed Muslims suit and they have partly allowed suit number five by Hindus. One judge has partly and one has fully allowed. But the majority has decided that the land will be divided in three parts. The court has said in three months till then it is status quo," said senior lawyer Ravi Shankar Prasad, who represented Mahant Raghuvar Das.

The Sunni Wakf Board said that it would file an appeal against the verdict in the Supreme Court

"We don't accept the one third formula. We accept the mosque as an intact body. But we believe there is no need for resentment as the matter will go to the Supreme Court," said Sunni Wakf Board lawyer Zafaryab Jilani.

Hindu Mahasabha counsel PL Mishra said that that verdict had something for every one.

"Honourable Justice Agarwal has said that pooja has always been performed on the land where the Ram Lala exists. Lord Ram will continue to exist there. But, the Nirmohi Akhara has been using the premises as well. The Muslims have also been offering namaz there. Hence, the land will be divided into three and each of them will receive their part. The government-acquired land under Special Acquisition Act of 1993 will be divided and then, other infrastructure requirements for entry and exit of the three parts will be put up," said Mishra.

Justice Khan and Justice Agarwal said that the area under the central dome of the three-domed structure where Lord Ram's idol exists belonged to Hindus.

However, the third judge Justice Sharma ruled that that the disputed site was the birth place of Lord Ram and that the disputed building constructed during the rule of Mughal emperor Babur was built against the tenets of Islam and did not have the character of the mosque.

On the disputed structure, Justice Sharma said it "was constructed by Babar, the year is not certain but it was against the tenets of Islam. Thus, it cannot have the character of a mosque."

Differing with the other two judges, he also ruled that the disputed structure was constructed on the site of the old structure after demolition of the same. "The Archaeological Survey of India has proved that the structure was a massive Hindu religious structure," he said.

He said the idols were placed in the middle dome of the disputed structure in the intervening night of December 22 and 23, 1949.

With regard to the status of the disputed site -- inner and outer courtyard, Justice Sharma said "it is established that the property in suit is the site of Janambhoomi of Ram Chandra Ji and Hindus in general had the right to worship 'charan', 'Sita Rasoi', other idols and other object of worship existed upon the property in suit."

He said "it is also established that Hindus have been worshipping the place in dispute as Janamsthan, i.e., a birth place as deity and visiting it as a sacred place of pilgrimage as of right since time immemorial."

The judge said after the construction of the disputed structure, "it is proved the deities were installed inside the disputed structure on 22/23.12.1949. It is also proved that the outer courtyard was in exclusive possession of Hindus and they were worshipping throughout and in the inner courtyard (in the disputed structure) they were also worshipping.

"It is also established that the disputed structure cannot be treated as a mosque as it came into existence against the tenets of Islam."

Justice Khan said "all the three sets of parties, i.e. Muslims, Hindus and Nirmohi Akhara are declared joint title holders of the property/premises in dispute as described by letters A B C D E F in the map Plan-I prepared by Shri Shiv Shankar Lal, Pleader/Commissioner appointed by court in Suit No. 1 to the extent of 1/3rd share each for using and managing the same for worshipping. A preliminary decree to this effect is passed."

However, the judge observed that it is further declared that the portion below the central dome where at present the idol is kept in makeshift temple will be allotted to Hindus in final decree.

He also said that Nirmohi Akhara will be allotted share including that part which is shown by the words 'Ram Chabutra' and 'Sita Rasoi' in the said map.

Justice Khan said even though all the three parties are declared to have one-third share each, "however, if while allotting exact portions, some minor adjustments in the share is to be made, then the same will be made and the adversely-affected party may be compensated by some portion of the adjoining land which has been acquired by the central government."

In his gist of findings, Justice Khan observed that the disputed structure was constructed as mosque by or under the orders of Babar but it is not proved by direct evidence that the premises in dispute including constructed portion belonged to Babar or the person who built it.

He also said that no temple was demolished for constructing the mosque as it was built over the ruins of temple which was lying for a very long time.

In his judgement, Justice Agarwal said "it is declared that the area covered by the central dome of the three-domed structure, i.e., the disputed structure being the deity of Bhagwan Ram Janamsthan and place of birth of Lord Rama as per faith and belief of Hindus belong to plaintiffs (party on behalf of Lord Rama) and shall not be obstructed or interfered in any manner by the defendants."

He also observed that the area within the inner courtyard excepting some portion belongs to members of both the communities, Hindus and Muslims, since it was being used by both since decades and centuries.

"It is, however, made clear that the for the purpose of share of plaintiffs (parties on behalf of Lord Rama) under this direction", the area which is covered by central dome of the three-domed structure, shall also be included, he said.

Justice Agarwal said the area covered by structures Ram Chabutra, Sita Rasoi and Bhandar in the outer courtyard is declared in the share of Nirmohi Akhara and they shall be entitled to possession thereof, in the absence of any person with better title. Justice Agarwal said the open area within the outer courtyard shall be shared by Nirmohi Akhara and the party for Lord Rama since it has generally been used by the Hindu people for worship at both places.

"It is, however, made clear that the share of Muslim parties shall not be less than one-third of the total area of the premises and if necessary, it may be given some area of outer courtyard.

"It is also made clear that while making metes and bounds, if some minor adjustments are to be made with respect to the share of different parties, the affected party may be compensated by allotting the requisite land from the area which is under acquisition of the Government of India," the judge said.

In his findings on issues, Justice Agarwal said the parties of the Muslim side have failed to prove that the property in dispute was constructed by Babar in 1528 AD.

Justice Sharma, writing a separate judgement, observed that the disputed site is the birth place of Lord Rama. "Place of birth is a juristic person and is a deity. It is personified as a spirit of divine worshipped as Lord Rama as a child.

"Spirit of divine ever remains present everywhere at all times for anyone to invoke at any shape or form in accordance with his own aspirations and it can be shapeless and formless also," he said.

On the disputed structure, Justice Sharma said it "was constructed by Babar, the year is not certain but it was against the tenets of Islam. Thus, it cannot have the character of a mosque."

Differing with the other two judges, he also ruled that the disputed structure was constructed on the site of the old structure after demolition of the same. "The Archaeological Survey of India has proved that the structure was a massive Hindu religious structure," he said.

He said the idols were placed in the middle dome of the disputed structure in the intervening night of December 22 and 23, 1949.3

With regard to the status of the disputed site -- inner and outer courtyard, Justice Sharma said "it is established that the property in suit is the site of Janambhoomi of Ram Chandra Ji and Hindus in general had the right to worship 'charan', 'Sita Rasoi', other idols and other object of worship existed upon the property in suit."

He said "it is also established that Hindus have been worshipping the place in dispute as Janamsthan, i.e., a birth place as deity and visiting it as a sacred place of pilgrimage as of right since time immemorial."

The judge said after the construction of the disputed structure, "it is proved the deities were installed inside the disputed structure on 22/23.12.1949. It is also proved that the outer courtyard was in exclusive possession of Hindus and they were worshipping throughout and in the inner courtyard (in the disputed structure) they were also worshipping.

"It is also established that the disputed structure cannot be treated as a mosque as it came into existence against the tenets of Islam."

(With inputs from PTI)

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