M SIDDIQ (D) THR LRS. VS MAHANT SURESH DAS & ORS.
Equivalent Citation: 2020-1 SCC 1
Date of Judgement: November 9, 2019
Case Number: 10866-10867 of 2010
Petitioner: M Siddiq (deceased)
Respondent: Mahant Suresh Das & Ors
This case, which has one of the earliest beginnings in the background of the Indian judicial system, has long captured the interest of the whole country. The Case centres upon the religious sentiments of India’s two most populous sects and their dispute over a plot for ownership in the historic town of Ayodhya. The Muslim community and the Hindu community both asserted that the disputed area is where the Mughal Emperor Babur’s Babri Masjid was constructed, and where Lord Ram was born. The Babri Masjid was constructed in 1528, which is when the lawsuit began. The first community uprising was in the late 1850s. The colonial administration constructed a wall to divide the inner from the outside courtyard in order to order this. Mahant Das brought a civil lawsuit in 1885 to have a temple constructed in the exterior courtyard. However, the court disallowed him from doing so because it thought it would disturb the peace and order of the community. When the Hindu community erected Lord Ram statues in the Central Dome in 1949, it lit a sectarian fire that endured for many years. After both communities filed lawsuits, the Faizabad Civil Court ordered the disputed territory to be sealed off in accordance with Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The district court of the Faizabad Court, however, unlocked the gates and let the Hindu community practise their faith in the region in 1986. This came to an end when the Karsewaks destroyed the mosque at Babri on December 6, 1992. In 1989, the case was moved from the Faizabad Civil Court into the Allahabad High Court. The inner courtyard, the Ram Chabutra, and the Sita Rasoi were designated for the Lord, the Nirmohi Akhara, while the remaining property was designated for the Sunni Board by the High Court. Yet, neither of the parties were happy with the court’s ruling, and they each petitioned the Supreme Court for appeals and special leave. The Ram Janam Bhoomi was allegedly built after the Mughals demolished it during their conquest of India, in accordance with the Hindu community. On the other side, the Muslims said that Mir Qasim, the General of Babur, carried out Babur’s instructions and erected the mosque on a piece of undeveloped ground. The Muslim community, on the other hand, did not contest Ram Janam Bhoomi’s reality. They only asserted that there was no proprietary claim made by the Hindu community. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the Shebat, claims the Nirmohi Akhara. The individual who oversees the Deity’s affairs and acts as the Deity’s personal servant is known as a Shebait. The principal defence put out by the Sunni Board was that prior to the placement of the statues in 1949, there had been none deities in the region. They said that they frequently prayed in the mosque up until 1949. They would benefit more since they have long-term usage of the contested property. On the other side, the Hindu community said that Babur demolished numerous temples, included the temple at Ayodhya, after he entered their territory, now known as India. It was only reasonable to make up for past wrongs after adopting a constitutional system of just governance because the Hindu community was forced to endure the violence of their invasion. They said that the land’s title, which had been in place since the eleventh century, was still in force today. Evidence was offered, including a copy of the Faizabad Gazette from 1928. This gazette recognised Babur, the Mughal emperor, for destroying the historic Ram Janam Bhoomi shrine. The mosque was built using the Kasauti Pillar along with other remnants of the demolished temple. Even after it was destroyed, devotees kept on praying to Lord Ram using a variety of symbols, including Sita Rasoi. The court case brought on the Deity’s behalf was crucial since in order to speak for the Lord himself instead of his disciples. Their interests would be more important to him than Lord Ram’s.
Whether the statute of limitations in India applied to the lawsuits filed by Nirmohi Akhara, the Sunni Waqf Board, and the god himself?
Could Ram Janma Bhoomi be accepted as a legal entity?
Perhaps there was ever an ancient temple in the contested territory? If so, would the Hindu community be eligible if so?
Before idols were covertly transported inside the Babri Masjid between December 22 and 23, 1949, no idols were found on the property of the mosque. The proclamation rejected the idea of an Asthana or a ruling deity.
Up to December 22nd and December 16th, 1949, respectively, the mosque’s grounds hosted both the regular prayers and the Friday prayers.
The Mughal monarchs had previously funded the maintenance and operation of the masjid, and the British administration carried on that tradition.
The disputed location in issue relies on the Hindu temple of Janmasthan, and it was situated in the courtyard while the Muslims’ namaz was offered inside the boundaries of the mosque.
The challenged location has been a mosque for communal prayer for a long time, elevating the location to a Waqf. The area that was in dispute served as a place of prayer since namaz was offered there from the mosque’s construction in 1528 till its desecration in December 1949.
The atrocities done by the Mughals are now responsible due to the introduction of the Indian Constitution, and they require redress. Thousands of temples, including the one at the location, were demolished during Babur’s invasion of India. Hindus were not permitted to exercise their rights since invaders-controlled India’s land.
The legal name of the saints from the 12th century AD remains enforceable legally now since a god’s property is undeniable.
No legitimate Waqf has ever existed or could have existed. It has been stated that Hindus continued to possess the place, despite intermittent intrusion by members of the Islamic religion.
The Kasauti pillars and other remnants of the destroyed temple were used to build a mosque, according to the 1928 version of the Faizabad Gazetteer.
The god was not a participant to the prior actions, and suit number 5 was filed because of worry that the primary parties’ personal interests would be upheld in the present suits at the expense of the deity of Lord Rama.
Islam forbids the construction of mosques on the remains of previous sacred buildings. Because of this, the Babri Masjid can’t be regarded as a mosque.
The court emphasised that the Hindu community had been acknowledged and supported by the British government. The setting up of Lord Ram sculptures in 1873 led to this alleviation. After then, the Court addressed the subject of adverse possession. Adverse possession is, first and foremost, the notion that someone who lacks title to land may acquire it via continuing occupation. Any adverse possession charge exists, in the opinion of the Court, as a result of both law and facts, not simply law alone.
The Muslim community had no way to fulfil the requirements of adverse possession since they could not provide any evidence of possession of the contested region between 1528 and 1860. As a result, they were unable to make a claim for it. The Court continued by citing the historic decision in Ismail Faruqui, in which the apex court decided that mosques weren’t an essential component of the Islamic faith.
The Court cited another significant Supreme Court ruling as it continued to address the fundamentals of religious secularism. According to a statement, secularism in India goes beyond merely passive religious tolerance. Additionally, it actively works to guarantee the equality of all religions. The Muslim community’s rights had been gravely abused; the court decided. They held that the destruction of the Babri Masjid violated the rule of law, and that this infringement ought to be remedied in whatever way that could be done.
The information presented in the Supreme Court’s addenda supported the Hindu community’s claims that Ram Janam Bhoomi is believed to be located in the contested territory. After obtaining findings from the Archaeological Survey of India, which claimed the Babri Masjid was not constructed on a piece of undeveloped ground but rather a building from the 12th century, the Court continued to investigate its assertions. In spite of repeated riots, the Hindu community also refused to recognise the line and persisted in holding religious ceremonies there. As a result of their establishment of continuous, uninterrupted devotion, the Hindus earned the title.
In order to support the religious dedication of the country to its people and make up for the Muslim community’s loss due to the unlawful destruction of the mosque, the court decided to award the Hindus the contested 2.77 acres of property while simultaneously awarding the Muslims 5 acres of land.
DEFECTS OF LAW
It is necessary to alter the Waqf Property Act, which established the legal concept that Waqf assets cannot be transferred to the person who has been wronged. A plot of land utilised as an open-to-the-public mosque is known as a waqf property. This Principle cannot trump the notion of justice set out in the Constitution. A typical feature in numerous of the mosques constructed by Middle Eastern invaders was that they were constructed on a temple or religious property. Furthermore, despite years of pursuing justice via the legal system, it would be unfair to deny the other parties access to land that has historically belonged to them simply because that obscenely constructed mosque is Waqf property.
Mahant Das filed suit number one with the intention of erecting a religious structure in the property’s exterior courtyard. The court turned down the argument for preserving social harmony and the rule of law. The court’s ruling was more deceptive than it initially appeared. The Civil court, that was a crucial component in the creation of British India, made no attempt to settle the dispute. The situation could have been better if the parties had split the disputed territory at the time, since the Plaintiffs were happy with the outside courtyard, which was said in religious writings to be the precise origin of Lord Rama. However, the court followed the British strategy of “divide and rule” and allowed the conflict between Muslims and Hindus to worsen. In the midst of the escalating clashes over the land, both sides filed the second lawsuit. The contested property must be locked for both parties, the Faizabad Civil court said. This choice was quite wise since favouring either party would have exacerbated an already delicate situation. In November 2019, the Supreme Court issued its final decision, which is still the subject of debate. Some claimed that the Muslim community had an unfairly high burden of proof because of the Supreme Court’s treatment of their possession claim. It is incorrect to believe that such a place of worship arose because no Hindu writings expressly state that it was constructed immediately under the dome, and Babur’s diary makes no reference of it being demolished in order to construct the mosque. They consider it remains unfair to depend solely on European texts. The choice was well-balanced, which is a different response. The Muslim and Hindu communities received a remedy for unjustified harm to their freedom to worship throughout their respective eras. However, the decision ended a protracted legal battle, and it offers the best solution to the issue that affects and is tied to the religious sensibilities of approximately ninety percent of Indians.
NAME- AYESHA SWAIN
COLLEGE NAME- SYMBIOSIS LAW SCHOOL, NAGPUR