The Supreme Court on Friday decided to hear the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute from August 6.(HT File Photo)
The Supreme Court on Friday decided to hear the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute from August 6.(HT File Photo)

Ayodhya case back in Supreme Court as mediation fails. Here’s a timeline

The panel had submitted its report to the top court in a sealed envelope on Thursday, after almost four-and-a-half month-long negotiations between Hindu and Muslim litigants to explore the possibility of an out-of-court settlement to the decades-long Ayodhya land dispute.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON JUN 08, 2020 08:36 AM IST

The Supreme Court on Friday decided to hear the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute from August 6 and then decide on the future course of action in the contentious case. This follows the failed mediation attempt in the case by a three-member panel.

The panel submitted its report to the top court in a sealed envelope on Thursday, after almost four-and-a-half month-long negotiations between Hindu and Muslim litigants to explore the possibility of an out-of-court settlement to the decades-long Ayodhya land dispute.

In Photos: The Ram Janmabhoomi - Babri Masjid title dispute so far

Here are the important developments in the temple-mosque issue through the years:

* 1528: Babri Masjid is built under India’s first Mughal ruler Babar. Many Hindus, including Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), say it was built over an 11th-century Hindu temple

* 1853: First recorded violent conflict over the temple-mosque issue between Hindus and Muslims takes place. The Nawab of Awadh Wajid Ali Shah tackles the problem

* 1949: Lord Ram’s idol mysteriously appears inside the mosque. Hindus began offering prayers as local Muslims protest and both parties file civil suits. The city magistrate attaches the property and locks the gates but prayers continue


* 1950: Local resident Gopal Singh Visharad files suit before the Faizabad civil judge on January 16, seeking unrestricted darshan. Ramchandra Das Paramhans also files a similar suit

* 1959: Religious sect Nirmohi Akhara files a case claiming rights to the land

* 1961: Sunni Waqf Board puts in its claim for the mosque’s restoration

* 1984: VHP launches a temple construction movement. On October 7, a ‘liberation’ march from Bihar’s Sitamarhi to Lucknow reaches Ayodhya for an oath-taking ceremony

* 1986: One Umesh Chand Pandey files case, saying locked gates interferes with right to worship. On February 1, the Faizabad sessions judge allows Hindus to worship at the site. The Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC) is formed within a month

* 1988-1989: Nearly 200,000 shila pujas are held all over India leading to riots, notably in Bhagalpur in Bihar. On behalf of the deity, justice Devaki Nandan Agarwal files a case. The Allahabad high court issues interim directive to maintain the status quo of disputed property pending final judgement. All district court cases are transferred to it

* November 9, 1989: Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi allows shilanyas at an “undisputed site” before the Lok Sabha elections. This is followed by rioting. In the elections, the BJP seat tally rises from two to 86

* 1990: BJP president LK Advani goes on a rath yatra and is arrested in Samastipur, Bihar. Thousands of kar sevaks gather in Ayodhya. The mosque is partially damaged and 30 are killed in police firing. The VP Singh government falls

* January 1991: Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar initiates talks with the VHP and the BMAC. The Ayodhya tussle is the core issue in the mid-term Lok Sabha polls. The BJP tally moves up from 86 to 119 and also wins the UP assembly polls

* October 1991: Places of Worship Bill passed by the Lok Sabha says all religious places shall be maintained according to their status on August 15, 1947. Ayodhya is left out as matter in court

* The Kalyan Singh government in UP takes possession of 2.77 acres of land adjoining the disputed site, ostensibly for pilgrim facilities. BMAC challenges notification

* August 1992: Kar sevaks lay a large foundation east of the Babri Masjid

* December 6, 1992: The Babri Masjid is demolished by frenzied kar sevaks. Rioting breaks out all over India, leaving 1,200 people dead

* December 16, 1992: The Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan Commission appointed to probe the sequence of events that led to the Babri Masjid’s demolition

* January 7, 1993: Centre acquires 67 acres surrounding the disputed site and quashes all pending suits through an ordinance

* October 24, 1994: The Supreme Court rejects the single-point presidential reference on whether or not a temple existed before the mosque. It upholds the Ayodhya acquisition of 1993, but rejects the quashing of pending cases

* January 2002: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee sets up an Ayodhya cell in his office and appoints a senior official, Shatrughan Singh, to hold talks with Hindu and Muslim leaders

* Feb 2002: VHP confirms deadline of March 15 to begin construction. Hundreds of volunteers converge on site. At least 55 Ram Sevaks are burnt alive in Sabarmati Express in Godhra while returning from Ayodhya

* March 6, 2002: The Centre approaches the Allahabad high court, seeking day-to-day hearing of the case relating to Ayodhya dispute

* March 13, 2002: The Supreme Court rules out bhumi puja at Ayodhya

* March 15, 2002: Symbolic shiladaan is done amid tight security. Shila is handed over at Digambar Akhara

* February 4, 2002: Under pressure from VHP, the Centre files an application in the SC for vacating the ‘interim order’ banning any religious activity at the acquired site in Ayodhya

* April 2002: Three high court judges begin hearings to determine Ayodhya site’s ownership

* March-August 2003: Archaeological Survey of India excavates in Ayodhya on the directions of the Allahabad high court. It claims to have found evidence of a temple beneath the mosque. Muslims dispute findings

* September 2003: A court rules that seven Hindu leaders should stand trial for inciting the mosque demolition

* October 2004: Advani reiterates the BJP’s ‘unwavering’ commitment to building a temple at Ayodhya

* June 2009: Liberhan Commission submits its report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, 17 years after its formation

* September 28, 2010: Supreme Court gives go-ahead for Allahabad high court judgment on September 30, rejecting appeals for deferment

* September 30, 2010: Allahabad high court rules the site should be split, with the Muslim community getting control of a third, Hindus another third and the Nirmohi Akhara sect the remainder. Control of the main disputed section, where the mosque was torn down, is given to Hindus

* May 2011: The Supreme Court suspends the high court ruling after Hindu and Muslim groups appeal against the 2010 verdict

* February 2015: Hindu and Muslim litigants meet to discuss a new proposal for resolution, which they plan to put before the Supreme Court. The formula for settlement talks about the 70 acres of disputed site accommodating both mosque and temple, but it doesn’t take off. In 2015-16, litigants meet twice again for settling the dispute amicably but fail

* March 2015: Supreme Court issues notices to Advani and Joshi following a petition against dropping of conspiracy charges against them in the Babri Masjid demolition case

* March 21, 2017: Supreme Court calls for an amicable settlement to dispute over who owns the site, saying the “sensitive and sentimental matter” is best settled out of court

* April 19, 2017: No relief for BJP leaders. Supreme Court says Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti and others will be tried for conspiring to demolish the Babri Masjid

* December 5, 2017: Supreme Court decides to hear the civil appeals filed by various parties challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict on the title dispute on February 8 next year

* July 20, 2018: Top court concluded a series of arguments on the pleas challenging the 1994 verdict that mosque was not integral to Islam. Bench reserves verdict

* September 27, 2018: Supreme Court declines to refer the case to a five-judge constitution bench. Case to be heard by a newly constituted three-judge bench on October 29

* January 8, 2019: Supreme Court sets up a five-judge constitution bench to hear the case headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising justices SA Bobde, justice NV Ramana, UU Lalit and DY Chandrachud

* January 25, 2019: Supreme Court reconstitutes the constitution bench to hear the case. Chief Justice Gogoi and justices Bobde, Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer form the bench

* January 29, 2019: Centre moves Supreme Court seeking permission to return the 67-acre acquired land around the disputed site to original owners

* February 26, 2019: Supreme Court favours mediation, fixes March 5 for order on whether to refer the matter to a court-appointed mediator

* March 8, 2019 : Supreme Court refers the dispute for mediation by a panel headed by former top court judge FMI Kallifulla

* August 1, 2019: Three-member mediation panel submits its report to the top court in a sealed envelope

* August 2, 2019: Supreme Court to read the report and decide the future course of action

Story Saved