In a big move on the Ayodhya land case, the Centre on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court to allow it to hand over part of the land that is not under dispute to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, the trust overseeing the Ram temple plan.
The top court had ordered status quo at the site in Ayodhya in a 2011 order.
The Supreme Court had stayed the Allahabad High Court’s verdict dividing in three parts the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site, terming as “something strange” the judgement although the parties had not asked for trifurcation of the land.
The court, while staying the September 30 RPT 30, 2010 judgement of the Lucknow bench of the high court, ordered status quo at the site.
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha, while terming the high court’s judgement “as something strange,” said the partition of the land was ordered despite none of the parties to the dispute seeking it.
While directing that there shall be no religious activity on the 67-acre land, acquired by the central government adjacent to the disputed structure, the apex court bench said the status quo shall be maintained with regard to the rest of the land. Only 0.313 acres is the disputed land.
The government now wants the status quo removed on the excess vacant land acquired around Ayodhya’s disputed site, a move that has significant importance ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The government’s move comes on a day when the Supreme Court was to hear the Ayodhya title suit but was cancelled as Justice SA Bobde – who was among the five-judge constitution bench of the top court – was not available due to medical reasons.
Earlier on Monday, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Ayodhya case that has been pending for almost 70 years, should be heard soon as the people of the country expect the construction of a grand Ram temple where the Babri Masjid once stood.
Prasad said: “The Ayodhya case has been pending for the last 70 years. The Allahabad High Court order was in favour of the temple (in 2010), but then it is on hold in the Supreme Court now. This matter should be cleared soon.”
He said that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah have said that the matter should be resolved under a Constitutional ambit.
(With agency inputs)