The five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi (now retired) had on November 9, 2019 unanimously delivered its verdict that the land in Ayodhya where Babri Masjid once stood, belongs to Ram Lalla. The court’s order brought an end to a long fought legal battle and paved the way for the construction of a grand Ram Mandir. The top court ordered the Centre to set up trust to oversee the temple construction world. Besides, it also directed the government to allot a five-acre plot to Sunni Waqf Board at a prominent location in Ayodhya for the construction of a mosque.
A look at some of the important events in the Ayodhya case-
1528-1529- A mosque was built on the site by the then Mughal emperor Babur and hence, it is known as Babri Masjid.
1850s- Beginning of the dispute, following which communal violence took place. Hindu side sought possession of the site, however, denied by the then colonial rulers.
1946- Akhil Bharatiya Ramayana Mahasabha, a wing of Hindu Mahasabha, started an agitation for the possession of the disputed site.
1949- An idol of Lord Rama was found inside the Babri mosque. This led to a protest from the Muslim side, after which both sides moved to court and filed a civil suit. Following the development, the state government had declared the entire area as ‘dispute’ and lock the gates until further orders.
1950- Two suits filed in Faizabad civil court by the Hindu side in which it sought permission to worship the idols of Ram Lalla.
1959- Nirmohi Akhara had filed the third suit claiming to be the stakeholder of the site.
1961- The Sunni Central Wakf Board of the Uttar Pradesh moved to court demanding the removal of idols and possession of the site.
1986- On the direction of the District Court, the lock was removed and was opened for the Hindus to worship.
1992- The demolition of the Babri masjid took place on December 6, following which a riot took place between Hindus and Muslims. The Government of India has set up Liberhan Commission (Liberhan Ayodhya Commission of Inquiry- led by Retired High Court Judge MS Liberhan) to probe the destruction of the disputed structure of the Babri Masjid.
1993- The centre on April 3 passed ‘Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act’ for the acquisition of land in the disputed site.
1994- In a landmark Ismail Faruqui case on October 24, the Supreme Court of India had stated that a masjid was bot an integral to Islam.
2010- In a 2:1 majority, the Allahabad High court on September 30, had ruled three-way division of disputed area between Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
2011- The Supreme Court had put a stay order on the Allahabad High Court verdict.
2016- After the formation of the BJP government at the centre, former Union Minister Subramanian Swamy filed a petition in the apex court seeking construction of Ram Temple at the site.
2017- On March 21, the then CJI JS Khehar had suggested out-of-court settlement among all the parties. On August 7, the top court constituted three-judge bench to hear pleas challenging the 1994 verdict of the Allahabad High Court.
2019- The apex court had referred the case for mediation, asked the panel to complete all the required proceedings within 8 weeks. However, the panel failed to come to any conclusion.
August 06, 2019- The top court begins marathon hearing on a day-to-day basis. Hearing goes on for 40 days.
October 16, 2019- The Supreme Court reserved its judgement in the case.
November 9, 2019- The Supreme Court delivers its verdict. The SC ruled that the land belongs to Ram Lalla and ordered the government to provide an alternative five-acre land to the Sunni Waqf Board.
December 12, 2019- The Supreme Court rejected multiple pleas for a review of its November 9 ruling handing over the land in Ayodhya to Ram Lalla.
February 5, 2020- Prime Minister Narendra Modi announces the formation of a 15-member Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra to oversee construction of a Ram Mandir at the erstwhile disputed site in Ayodhya.
In accordance with the Supreme Court verdict, the Uttar Pradesh government allotted a 5-acre plot in Dhannipur village along the Lucknow-Ayodhya highway to the Sunni Waqf Board for the construction of a new mosque in Ayodhya district.
February 19, 2020- Ram Mandir Trust appoints office bearers.
August 5, 2020- PM Modi conducts bhumi pujan at Ayodhya for initiation of temple construction, lays foundation stone.
The Ram Mandir will be almost double the size of what was originally planned as its design was modified, architect Chandrakant Sompura, who has designed it, said. The temple will be constructed in Nagara style of architecture. It will have five domes instead of two as envisaged earlier to accommodate more number of devotees. The temple will have a shikhara (tower) over the sanctum sanctorum. The temple will be 161 feet tall and the width of the stairs will be 16 feet.
The Ram Mandir is likely to be completed in the next three years.