Ayodhya Verdict:Final Decision Official Press Note

These first appeals centre around a dispute between two religious
communities both of whom claim ownership over a piece of land admeasuring 1500 square yards in the town of Ayodhya. The disputed property is of immense significance to Hindus and Muslims. The Hindu community claims it as the birth-place of Lord Ram, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Muslim community claims it as the site of the historic Babri Masjid built by the first Mughal Emperor, Babur.
The lands of our country have witnessed invasions and dissensions. Yet they
have assimilated into the idea of India everyone who sought their providence,
whether they came as merchants, travellers or as conquerors. The history and
culture of this country have been home to quests for truth, through the material,
the political, and the spiritual. This Court is called upon to fulfil its adjudicatory
function where it is claimed that two quests for the truth impinge on the freedoms
of the other or violate the rule of law.

This Court is tasked with the resolution of a dispute whose origins are as
old as the idea of India itself. The events associated with the dispute have
spanned the Mughal empire, colonial rule and the present constitutional regime.
Constitutional values form the cornerstone of this nation and have facilitated the
lawful resolution of the present title dispute through forty-one days of hearings
before this Court. The dispute in these appeals arises out of four regular suits
which were instituted between 1950 and 1989. Before the Allahabad High Court,
voluminous evidence, both oral and documentary was led, resulting in three
judgements running the course of 4304 pages. This judgement is placed in challenge in the appeals.

The disputed land forms part of the village of Kot Rama Chandra or, as it is
otherwise called, Ramkot at Ayodhya, in Pargana Haveli Avadh, of Tehsil Sadar
in the District of Faizabad. An old structure of a mosque existed at the site until 6
December 1992. The site has religious significance for the devotees of Lord
Ram, who believe that Lord Ram was born at the disputed site. For this reason,
the Hindus refer to the disputed site as Ram Janmabhumi or Ram Janmasthan
(i.e. birth-place of Lord Ram). The Hindus assert that there existed at the
disputed site an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Ram, which was demolished
upon the conquest of the Indian sub-continent by Mughal Emperor Babur. On the other hand, the Muslims contended that the mosque was built by or at the behest
of Babur on vacant land. Though the significance of the site for the Hindus is not
denied, it is the case of the Muslims that there exists no proprietary claim of the
Hindus over the disputed property.

A suit was instituted in 1950 before the Civil Judge at Faizabad by a Hindu worshipper, Gopal Singh Visharad seeking a declaration that according to his religion and custom, he is entitled to offer prayers at the main Janmabhumi temple near the idols.
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The Nirmohi Akhara represents a religious sect amongst the Hindus, known as the Ramanandi Bairagis. The Nirmohis claim that they were, at all material times, in charge and management of the structure at the disputed site which according to them was a temple‘ until 29 December 1949, on which date an attachment was ordered under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898. In effect, they claim as shebaits in service of the deity, managing its affairs and receiving offerings fromdevotees. Theirs is a Suit of 1959 for the management and charge of the temple‘.

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