New Delhi, Jul 6: The Supreme Court is slated to resume final hearing on the Babri Masjid-Ram Temple land dispute case on Friday. In the last hearing on May 17, a special bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer had heard submissions on behalf of Hindu groups that had opposed the plea of their Muslim counterparts that the 1994 verdict holding that a mosque was not integral to the prayers offered by the followers of Islam be referred to a larger bench.

M Siddiq, one of the original litigants of the Ayodhya case who has died and is being represented through his legal heir, had assailed certain findings of the 1994 verdict in the case of M Ismail Faruqui holding that a mosque was not integral to the prayers offered by the followers of Islam.

He had told the bench that the observations made in the land acquisition matter pertaining to the Ayodhya site had a bearing on the outcome of the title case. However, the Hindu groups had said the issue relating to the observations that the mosque was not integral to Islam has already been settled and cannot be reopened.

The special bench of the apex court is seized of a total of 14 appeals filed against the high court judgement delivered in four civil suits. A three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had in 2010 ordered that the land be partitioned equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

 About The Dispute:

While the Muslim body insists the land belongs to it because a mosque was built on it, the Hindu organisation is adamant that it was the birthplace of Lord Ram and as such, calls for the building of a Ram temple there. While the high court verdict wasn’t unanimous in concluding that a Ram temple was demolished to make way for the mosque that was razed in 1992 by karsevaks, it did agree that a temple pre-dated the mosque.

On December 6, 1992, thousands of karsevaks had razed the Babri mosque in Ayodhya and over 2,000 people were reported to have been killed in the riots which followed the demolition.

The Babri Masjid controversy dates back to the year 1885 when the first suit regarding the Babri Masjid structure was filed after the Faizabad Deputy Commissioner did not let Mahant Raghubar Das construct a Ram temple on the land next to the mosque. Mahant Raghubar Das then filed a suit seeking permission to built a temple on the outer courtyard of the mosque.

In 1949, idols of Ram Lalla were secretively placed under the central dome of the Babri mosque allegedly by the volunteers of Hindu Mahasabha.  While this led to an uproar with many groups and parties filing suits to claim the land to perform their respective religious activities. In 1950, Gopal Simla Visharad filed a suit in Faizabad civil court to offer prayers to Ram Lalla. In 1959, the Nirmohi Akhara filed another suit and sought directions to hand over charge of the disputed site.

The site was declared to be in dispute and locks were placed on gates of the Babri Masjid. In 1986, the locks were removed and the site was opened for the Hindu worshippers to perform their religious activities. In the late 1980s, the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) intensified its campaigns to construct a Ram temple on the site.

The case originally stems from two crime files against BJP veteran leader LK Advani and lakhs of Karsevaks (volunteers) who were around the disputed site on December 6, 1992, the day Babri mosque was demolished.  The CBI filed a charge sheet accusing Advani and other leaders of ‘conspiracy’. On May 4, 2001, conspiracy charges against Advani and others were absolved by a special court. On May 20, Allahabad High Court upheld the order and dismissed CBI’s petition to proceed with the conspiracy charge against Advani and other BJP leaders.

In September 2010, two-thirds of the Ayodhya site was awarded to Hindu parties and one-third to Waqf board by the Allahabad HC. In February 2011, the Supreme Court was moved by the CBI. The apex court stayed Allahabad HC verdict. The court also ordered a joint trial of crimes 197 and 198 in Babri case.

On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court revived conspiracy charges against BJP patriarch LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and other party leaders in Babri Masjid demolition case declaring that the criminal charges against the BJP leaders cannot be dropped on ‘technical grounds’.

In May 2017, Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar were charged with criminal conspiracy in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

(With inputs from agencies)