Ayodhya land dispute case: Three reasons why Supreme Court decided to give 5 acres of land to Muslims


The Supreme Court on Saturday delivered its historic verdict by handing over the disputed land in Ayodhya to the Hindus even though its five-judge bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi termed the demolition of the 16th-century Islamic structure an illegal act. The top court awarded an allotment of 5 acres of land at an alternative site for Muslims to be able to build the mosque of their liking. This triggered a wave of reactions on social media with Muslims refusing to accept what was widely deemed as a donation.

Many wondered why the top court decided to allot 5 acres of land even when it felt the disputed land must be given to Hindus in full.

Here’s what the Supreme Court said in its judgment while dwelling on the Muslims’ claim over Babri Masjid:

Muslims deprived of their mosque built 450 years ago

The exclusion of the Muslims from worship and possession took place on the intervening night between 22/23 December 1949 when the mosque was desecrated by the installation of Hindu idols. The ouster of the Muslims on that occasion was not through any lawful authority but through an act which was calculated to deprive them of their place of worship. After the proceedings under Section 145 of CrPC 1898 were initiated and a receiver was appointed following the attachment of the inner courtyard, worship of the Hindu idols was permitted. During the pendency of the suits, the entire structure of the mosque was brought down in a calculated act of destroying a place of public worship. The Muslims have been wrongly deprived of a mosque which had been constructed well over 450 years ago.

On 6 Babri Masjid’s demolition by Hindu fanatics

On 6 December 1992, the structure of the mosque was brought down and the mosque was destroyed. The destruction of the mosque took place in breach of the order of status quo and an assurance given to this Court. The destruction of the mosque and the obliteration of the Islamic structure was an egregious violation of the rule of law.

The allotment of land to the Muslims is necessary because though on a balance of probabilities, the evidence in respect of the possessory claim of the Hindus to the composite whole of the disputed property stands on a better footing than the evidence adduced by the Muslims, the Muslims were dispossessed upon the desecration of the mosque on 22/23 December 1949 which was ultimately destroyed on 6 December 1992.

No justice by overlooking Muslims’ entitlement

There was no abandonment of the mosque by the Muslims. This Court in the exercise of its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution must ensure that a wrong committed must be remedied. Justice would not prevail if the Court were to overlook the entitlement of the Muslims who have been deprived of the structure of the mosque through means which should not have been employed in a secular nation committed to the rule of law. The Constitution postulates the equality of all faiths. Tolerance and mutual co-existnce nourish the secular commitment of our nation and its people. It said that land admeasuring 5 acres should be allotted to the Sunni Central Waqf Board either by the Central Government out of the acquired land or by the Government of Uttar Pradesh within the city of Ayodhya.

This exercise, and the consequent handing over of the land to the Sunni Central Waqf Board, shall be conducted simultaneously with the handing over of the disputed site comprising of the inner and outer courtyards as a consequence of the decree in Suit 5., 

Meanwhile, Zafaryab Jilani, who fought the case on behalf of the Muslim litigants in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit, told reporters on Saturday that he was ‘not satisfied’ with the judgment adding that he may even go for a review of the judgment.