Babri Masjid Vs Ayodhya Case Study | Babri Masjid History
The Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute is one that makes a comeback ahead of every election season, but this time, it is the Supreme Court that has the subject in focus. India’s highest judicial body on Thursday turned down two pleas in the Ayodhya case — one that directly deals with the way the disputed land was split according to the 2010 Allahabad High Court ruling, and another that would have had a direct impact on the Supreme Court’s final verdict in the case.
The top court, on Thursday, refused to refer the matter to a larger bench. The Muslim litigants has insisted that the matter be heard by a five-judge constitution bench as the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict dividing the disputed land in three parts — giving one to deity of Ramlala Virajman, another to Hindu sect Nirmohi Akhara and a third to the Muslims — relied on a 1994 top court judgment. While reading out the judgment he wrote along with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan said that the Ayodhya case need not be referred to a larger bench, and that the three-judge bench, which also includes Justice S Abdul Nazeer, will continue to hear the case.
The court also held that the questionable observations in the 1994 Ismail Faruqui case — wherein the top court had ruled that mosques were not integral Islam and namaaz can be offered anywhere — were not relevant to make a decision in this suit, finally declining to refer even this matter to a larger bench. The Muslim litigants in the Ayodhya dispute had contested this judgement, calling for a re-examination of the ruling by the Supreme Court.
However, the dissenting judge in the case, Justice Nazeer, said in his judgment that the questionable observations in the Ismail Faruqui case, which he said were made “without comprehensive examination, had permeated the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict and need to be brought in line with the current case.
What is the Ayodhya dispute?
The Ayodhya dispute is at the heart of the Hindu-Muslim communal rift. For more than half a century, the dispute has fuelled mass polarisation in the state and has prompted the country’s worst spate of religious violence since the Partition. The dispute has been a subject of inciting political rhetoric in the lead up to almost all elections in the state and has taken centre-stage since Yogi Adityanath took charge as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
The dispute is about a plot of land measuring 2.77 acres in the city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, which houses the Babri mosque and Ram Janmabhoomi. This particular piece of land is considered sacred among Hindus as it is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram, one of the most revered deities of the religion. Muslims argue that the land houses the Babri mosque, where they had offered prayers for years before the dispute.
The dispute arises over whether the mosque was built on top of a Ram temple – after demolishing or modifying it in the 16th century. Muslims, on the other hand, say that the mosque is their sacred religious place – built by Mir Baqi in 1528 – and that Hindus desecrated it in 1949, when some people placed idols of Lord Ram inside the mosque, under the cover of darkness.
The dispute over this piece of land has defined and then redefined state politics outfits and influenced the mindsets of people throughout the country. Spanning across half a millennium, it predates empires – Mughal and British – and now even threatens to disrupt the fabric of modern India.