Ayodhya verdict: Twists and turns in the decades-old Ayodhya title dispute

Updated on Nov 09, 2019 01:49 PM IST

Ayodhya verdict: Security has been tightened across the city and schools and colleges would remain shut on in view of the verdict.

Birds fly at sunset over a Hindu temple on the 20th anniversary of the Babri mosque demolition in Ayodhya. Photo(AP)
Birds fly at sunset over a Hindu temple on the 20th anniversary of the Babri mosque demolition in Ayodhya. Photo(AP)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

The Supreme Court on Saturday pronounced its verdict on the decades-old Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi title dispute case. Security was tightened across the city ahead of the judgement and schools and colleges would remain shut in Uttar Pradesh till Monday.

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

* 1528: Babri Masjid is built during the rule of 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

* 1885: A Hindu priest files petition for building a temple next to the mosque but is denied permission

* 1949: 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. 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 -led government allows shilanyas at an “undisputed site”.

* 1990: BJP president LK Advani goes on a rath yatra and is arrested in Samastipur, Bihar.

* January 1991: Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar initiates talks with the VHP and the BMAC.

* 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

* November 28, 1992: The Supreme Court accepts UP government’s plea to allow the singing of hymns at the site. Sate government assures the court that the structure will be protected

* December 6, 1992: The Babri Masjid is demolished .

* 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 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 8, 2002: One Mohd Aslam alias Bhure files petition seeking deployment of the army, restraining kar sevaks from reaching Ayodhya and seizure of the carved pillars lying at Karsevakpuram at Ayodhya and Pindwara in Rajasthan by district authorities

* 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

* 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.

* 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

* 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.

* October 29, 2018: Supreme Court fixes the case for the first week of January before an appropriate bench, which will decide the schedule of hearing

* January 4, 2019: Supreme Court says an appropriate bench constituted by it will pass an order on January 10 for fixing the date of hearing in the title case

* 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 10, 2019: Justice Lalit recuses himself prompting Supreme Court to reschedule the hearing for January 29 before a new bench

* 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 27, 2019: Supreme Court cancels the January 29 hearing due to non-availability of justice Bobde

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

* February 20, 2019: Supreme Court decides to hear the case on February 26

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

* March 6, 2019: Supreme Court reserves order on whether the land dispute can be settled through mediation

* 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: The Supreme Court decided to hear the dispute on day-to-day basis from August 6 as three-member mediation panel is been unable to get the various parties involved in it to come to an agreement.

*October 16, 2019: Marathon daily hearings conclude, order reserved.

*November 9, 2019: The Supreme Court rules that a temple would be built at the 2.77-acre piece of land in Ayodhya and ordered the government to give Muslim parties an alternative 5-acre plot in a prominent place.

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