SC sets aside 2010 Allahabad HC judgement

The Supreme Court on Saturday held that the three-part bifurcation of the disputed site in Ayodhya by the Allahabad High Court in 2010 was “legally unsustainable”.

“Even as a matter of maintaining public peace and tranquillity, the solution which commended itself to the High Court is not feasible. The disputed site admeasures all of 1500 square yards. Dividing the land will not subserve the interest of either of the parties or secure a lasting sense of peace and tranquillity,” the five-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.

The top court said that the high court was not seized of a suit for partition. “The high court has completely erred in granting relief which lay outside the ambit of the pleadings,” the top court said.

In fact, the HC was hearing a suit by a worshipper, Gopal Singh Visharad, through legal representatives seeking enforcement of the right to pray, a suit by Nirmohi Akhara asserting rights to the management and charge of the temple and a declaratory suit on title by the Sunni Central Waqf Board and Muslims and a suit for a declaration on behalf of the Hindu deities in which an injunction has also been sought to restrain any obstruction with the construction of a temple.

“The high court has adopted a path which was not open to it. It granted reliefs which were not the subject matter of the prayers in the suits. In doing so, it proceeded to assume the jurisdiction of a civil court in a suit for partition,” the top court said.

The Nirmohi Akhara, who claimed a decree for management and charge as a shebait, was granted an independent share of the land, even though the high court held that its suit was barred by limitation. “This defies logic and is contrary to settled principles of law,” the top court said.

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