Verdict may help settle dispute

Ex-judge feels judgment would clear many issues related to temple and mosque

The mood in 2010 is distinctly conciliatory compared to the bellicosity of 1992, they feel.
Those who were nurturing the hopes of a negotiated settlement opined that the order of the court might bring a halt to the litigation but the bigger question — building a temple or a mosque — would remain unresolved until an amicable settlement was reached between the Hindus and Muslims.

“The court order may transfer the ownership of the land in question either to the Hindus or the Muslims, but what about constructing the temple or the mosque...whosoever undertakes the construction will require support from the police,” says former judge Chandra Bhushan Pandey.

“There have been instances when the orders from the courts, including those from the Supreme Court, remained unimplemented,” Pandey told Deccan Herald here on Tuesday soon after the Supreme Court dismissed the petition seeking deferment of the Allahabad HC verdict in the matter.

He cited the example of the apex court decision on destroying a graveyard in Varanasi, which, he claimed was yet to be implemented ever after 25 years owing largely to the reluctance of the administration, which apprehended that it could result in a major law and order problem.

Besides, Pandey said that the court verdict would in fact clear many issues connected with the temple and mosque, which were not yet known to the common people of the country.

“The common man knows only that the dispute is about claiming ownership of land and the popular perception is that neither Hindus nor Muslims are prepared to leave an inch of land for the other,” he said.

“Today the nature of the legal battle is more emotional and it applies to all the litigants,” he added.

“The technical and other aspects of the case will be fully known to the common people once the verdict is pronounced and then there could be pressure on every one, including the government, political parties and the litigants to settle the issue amicably,” he added.
The lawyer community feels that the possibility of an amicable solution would be more after the final verdict in the matter by the Supreme Court. The Nirmohi Akhara has already indicated that it was not averse to a negotiated settlement.

Another party in the dispute Mohammad Hashim Ansari also said that he did not want to take the matter to the Supreme Court in case the High Court verdict went against him.

From 1528 to 2010

*1528: A mosque is built on the site by Mughal emperor Babar which Hindus allege to be the birth place of Lord Ram and where a temple was there earlier.

*1853: First recorded incidents of communal violence at the disputed site take place.

*1859: British officials erect a fence to separate the places of worship, allowing the inner court to be used by Muslims and the outer court by Hindus.

*1885:  Mahant Raghubir Das files a suit seeking permission to build a canopy on Ram chabootra. Plea rejected a year later by the Faizabad district court.

*1949:  Idol of Lord Ram surfaces inside mosque. Muslims claim that it was kept there by Hindus, protest;  both parties file civil suits. Government proclaims the premises a disputed area and locks the gates.

*January 18, 1950: Gopal Singh Visharad files first title suit asking for right to worship the idols installed at ‘Asthan Janmabhoomi’. Court restrains removal of idols, allows worship to continue.

*April 24, 1950: The State of UP appeals against the injunction order.

*1950: Ramchandra Paramhans files another suit, but withdraws later.

*1959: Nirmohi Akhara enters the fray and files the third suit, seeks possession of the site, doing away with the court-appointed receiver. It claims itself to be the custodian of the spot at which Ram was supposedly born.

*December 18, 1961: UP Sunni Central Board of Waqfs moves in to claim possession of the mosque and adjoining land.

*1986: On a plea of Hari Shanker Dubey, a district judge directs Masjid gates to be unlocked to allow ‘darshan’. Muslims set up Babri Masjid Action Committee.

*1989: A fresh suit is filed by former VHP vice-president Deoki Nandan Agarwala in the name of Lord Ram for declaration of the title and possession in its favour at the
Lucknow bench of the Allahabad HC.

*October 23, 1989: All the four suits, pending before a Faizabad court transferred to a special bench of the HC.

*1989: VHP lays foundation of a Ram temple on land adjacent to the disputed mosque.

*1990: VHP volunteers partially damage the mosque. Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar tries to resolve the dispute through negotiations, which fails the next year.

*Dec 6, 1992: The disputed mosque is razed by Hindus in support of VHP, Shiv Sena and BJP, prompting nationwide communal riots which claimed more than 2,000 lives.

*Dec 16, 1992: Justice Liberhan Commission set up to inquire into the demolition of disputed structure within six months.

*July, 1996: Allahabad HC clubs all civil suits.

*2002: The HC directs the Archaeological Survey of India to excavate the site to determine if a temple lay underneath.

*April, 2002: Three High Court judges begin hearing.

*Jan, 2003: ASI begins a court-ordered survey to find out whether a temple to Lord Rama existed at the site.

*Aug, 2003: The survey says there is evidence of a temple beneath the mosque. Muslims dispute the findings.

*Jul, 2005: Suspected Islamic militants attack the disputed site. Security forces kill five people.

*Jun, 2009: Liberhan Commission submits its report - 17 years after it began its inquiry and after getting extension for 48 times.

*Jul 26, 2010: Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court reserves its order on the suits, fixes September 24 for pronouncement of verdict.

*Sep 17, 2010: HC refuses to defer pronouncement of the verdict as pleaded by one of the parties R C Tripathi in the suit.

*Sep 21, 2010: Tripathi approaches SC against HC order. A bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and A K Patnaik refuses to take up the case. Matter referred to another bench.

*Sep 23, 2010: Difference of opinion between two Justices R V Raveendran and H L Gokhale crops up on entertaining the petition. Court issues notices to the parties.

*Sep 28, 2010: SC dismisses Tripathi’s plea; HC now fixes September 30 for
pronouncement of the judgment.

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