The Supreme Court (SC) on 21 March 2017 advised the concerned parties in Ram Temple dispute case to resolve the matter outside the court.
This came following the appeal of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy who sought an urgent hearing on the Ayodhya dispute on the claims that it is a sensitive matter. The case is pending since last six years.
In his petition filed under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, Swamy contended that the pendency of the appeals in the Supreme Court has restricted his fundamental right to worship and enjoy dignity of life under the Constitution.
Chief Justice of India (CJI) JS Khehar in response asked him to mention the matter on or before 31 March 2017 while advising Swamy to sort out issue outside the court through negotiations that would be agreed upon by all petitioners and respondents.
However, the apex court also ruled that it would intervene if the negotiations fail and will appoint a mediator for resolution.
Babri Masjid Demolition Case: Won't accept dropping of charges against Advani on technical grounds: SC
The Supreme Court is also hearing the appeals challenging a 2010 Allahabad High Court's decision fixing the exact birth place of Lord Ram at the disputed Ayodhya site.
A three-judge Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court in September 2010 had given a unanimous decision that Lord Ram was born under the central dome of the makeshift temple and Hindus have the right to worship there.
Subsequently, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the High Court's decision soon after. The case has remained halfway ever since then.
Ram Mandir Dispute: A timeline
The issue of Ram Mandir Dispute dates back to 1992, when hundreds of commoners demolished the 16th century mosque in Ayodhya amid claims that it was the birthplace of Hindu deity Lord Rama and the mosque was constructed on the holy land of Hindus.
This triggered widespread Hindu-Muslim violence. Here is a timeline of the dispute:
• 1528: The Babri Masjid, a mosque in Ayodhya, was constructed by Mir Baki on the orders of Mughal emperor Babar.
• 1949: Towards the end of December 1949, idols of Lord Ram appeared inside the mosque, allegedly put there by Hindus. It led to widespread protests and both communities filed cases. The government declared the site as disputed and locked the gates to it.
• 1950: Mahant Paramhans Ramchandra Das, the chief of Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, and Gopal Singh Visharad filed case seeking permission to pray before the installed idols, which was allowed though the inner courtyard gates remain locked.
• 1961: Sunni Central Board of Waqfs in Uttar Pradesh filed a case claiming the mosque.
• 1984: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad constituted a group with the leader L K Advani to continue the campaign against the mosque.
• 1986: Faizabad district judge ordered the gates of the structure be opened for Hindus to offer prayers.
• 1990: LK Advani launched a rath yatra (pilgrimage procession) from Somnath to Ayodhya to galvanise support for the issue countrywide. His rath was stopped and he was arrested in Samastipur, Bihar.
• 1992: The disputed structure was brought down by followers and a makeshift temple was placed in its place.
• 2003: The Allahabad High Court ordered the Archeological Survey of India to excavate the disputed site in order to determine whether a temple existed where the mosque stood. The ASI submitted its report saying that it had found features of a 10th century temple beneath the site of the masjid.
• 2010: The Allahabad High Court pronounced its verdict on the long-standing Ayodhya Ram janmabhumi-Babri Masjid issue and ruled for a three-way division of the disputed area, between the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and the party for Ram Lalla.
• 2016: The Supreme Court permitted BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to intervene in the pending matters relating to the Ayodhya dispute with his plea seeking construction of Ram temple at the site of the demolished disputed structure.
What: Advised by Supreme Court
When: 21 March 2017