Supreme Court stays ‘controversial’ Ayodhya mosque ruling
NEW DELHI – The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the Allahabad High Court’s verdict of dividing the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya in three parts, terming the judgement as “strange”. The court ordered status quo at the site, while staying the September 30, 2010 judgement of the Lucknow bench of the High Court.
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and R.M. Lodha, questioned the reasoning behind a ruling passed last year that divided the site of the former Babri Masjid mosque destroyed by Hindu rioters in 1992 into three separate plots for Hindus, Muslims, and a local Hindu trust. The court said that the partition of the land was ordered despite none of the parties to the dispute seeking it.
The court directed that there shall be no religious activity on the 67 acre land acquired by the central government adjacent to the disputed structure. It said that the status quo shall be maintained with regard to the rest of the land.
In the wake of the court’s order, prayers at Ram Lala’s make-shift temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya would go on as usual.
The Lucknow bench of the high court had in September last year passed the verdict directing partition of the 2.77 acre on which the disputed structure once stood into three parts among Muslims, Hindus and Nirmohi Akhara.
Today was the first day of a Supreme Court hearing of petitions from people challenging the partition. The peaceful response to the ruling last year was a relief for the ruling Congress party, a left-of-centre group with secular roots. The opposition Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has campaigned for a temple to be built on the site. Hindus believe that that the demolished mosque was built by a Mughal Emperor on the ruins of a razed temple that marked the birthplace of Ram, the popular Hindu warrior God.
(With inputs from PTI and Reuters)
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