Hindus made a better case, Waqf Board couldn’t prove exclusive possession of Ayodhya site: SC | India News
Apart from what they termed impracticality of the three-way division of the disputed site by Allahabad HC, what weighed on the minds of the five judges was the quality of evidence produced by the Hindu parties, which outweighed that. However, the SC rejected the Hindu parties’ argument that Muslims had abandoned the mosque since 1857 presented by the Muslims, but only by a whisker. However, the SC rejected the Hindu parties’ argument that Muslims had abandoned the mosque since 1857.
“The Muslims have not been in possession of the outer courtyard. On a preponderance of probabilities, there is no evidence to establish that the Muslims abandoned the mosque or ceased to perform namaz in spite of the contestation over their possession of the inner courtyard after 1858,” the bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, CJI-designate S A Bobde and Justices D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer said.
This determination constituted the basis of why the bench thought the Muslim side needed restitution of right over the demolished mosque which could be done by allotting them a 5-acre plot in Ayodhya. The court, which held that on “balance of probabilities”, the Hindus had a better “possessory claim”, noted that prior to 1856-57, there was no exclusion of Hindus from worshipping within the precincts of the inner courtyard of the disputed structure.
Communal riots and the mutiny in 1856-57 led to the British erecting iron railings to separate the places of worship between Hindus and Muslims, the latter getting the inner courtyard of the mosque and the former getting the outer courtyard. Immediately, Hindus set up Ram chabutra close to the iron railings and continued to worship the area under the central dome as Ram’s birthplace.
The apex court said: “Though the Hindus continued to worship at the Ramchabutra, which was in the outer courtyard, by the consistent pattern of their worship including the making of offerings to the ‘Garbh Grih’ (area under central dome of mosque) while standing at the railing, there can be no manner of doubt that this was in furtherance of their belief that the birthplace of Lord Ram was within the precincts of and under the central dome of the mosque.”
On the contrary, no evidence was shown by Muslims to indicate that their possession of the disputed structure was exclusive and that offering of namaz was exclusionary of the Hindus.
“Hindus’ worship at Ramchabutra, Sita (Kaushalya) Rasoi and at other religious places including the setting up of a Bhandar clearly indicated their open, exclusive and unimpeded possession of the outer courtyard,” the bench said After weighing the evidence, the SC came to the conclusion that erection of iron railings to segregate the worship areas was not a sub-division of the disputed site.
It said Sunni Waqf Board had failed to establish right over the mosque either through ‘dedication by user’ or through adverse possession. On Allahabad HC ‘s verdict, the court said : “The three-way bifurcation by the (Allahabad) High Court was legally unsustainable. Even as a matter of maintaining public peace and tranquillity, the solution which commended itself to the high court is not feasible. The disputed site admeasures all of 1,500 square yards. Dividing the land will not subserve the interest of either of the parties or secure a lasting sense of peace and tranquillity.”
In Video:Ayodhya Verdict: Key findings by Supreme Court