February 15, 2020
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Ayodhya: The Legal Wrangle

Tracing the genealogy of the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute as also its chronological progress through the law of our land

Ayodhya: The Legal Wrangle
The petitions:

  • Jan 16, 1950: Gopal Singh Visharad files a case in the court of the civil judge, Faizabad, seeking permission to worship the deities installed at "Asthan Janma Bhoomi". An interim injunction restraining Muslims from removing the idols is granted.

  • Dec 5, 1950: Paramhans Ram Chandra Das files a suit seeking permission for "worship and darshan without any check, obstruction or interference".

  • Feb 1, 1951: Civil judge, Faizabad, consolidates the suits filed by Visharad and Das.

  • Dec 17, 1959: On behalf of the Nirmohi Akhara, Mahant Raghunath files a third suit in the court of the civil judge, Faizabad, seeking to remove Priya Dutt Ram from the management of the "temple" and take charge himself.

  • Dec 16, 1961: The Sunni Central Boards of Waqfs, UP, and others file a suit against Visharad, seeking "a decree for the delivery of possession of the mosque and graveyard by removal of the idols and other articles..."

  • Apr 6, 1964: All three suits filed by Hindus and the one filed by the Waqf Board are consolidated as suit No. 12/1961, which becomes the main case in the dispute.

  • Jul 1, 1989: Retired high court judge D.N. Agarwal files a suit claiming ownership of the disputed land and seeks sanction to build a new building in place of the old structure.

  • July 10, 1989: The Allahabad High Court rules that a special three-judge bench will hear all five suits in the lower courts. On Aug 14, the court says "all parties shall maintain status quo and shall not change the nature of the property in question". Case continues to be heard.

    In the Supreme Court

  • Jan 7, 1993: After the demolition, the President sends a single-point reference under Article 143 to the Supreme Court to decide whether a Hindu temple existed in the area on which "the structure" stood.

  • Oct 1994: The SC declines to answer the Presidential Reference and returns it. The order reads: "Consequently, the Special Reference No. 1 of 1993 made by the President of India under Article (1) of the Constitution of India is superfluous and unnecessary and does not require to be answered. For this reason, we very respectfully decline to answer it and return the same."

    In the Special CBI Court: Criminal cases pending against 49 persons, including L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati. They are accused of conspiring to demolish the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992.

    The first Ayodhya dispute case was filed in Jan 1885 in the court of the sub-judge, Faizabad, seeking permission to construct a temple onthe chabutara outside the Babri Masjid. The petition was dismissed.

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