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SC agrees to hear plea to ‘rebuild’ Ram temple

A plea by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to “re-build” Ram temple at the Ramjanmabhoomi site where kar sevaks destroyed Babri Masjid in 1992 will be heard by the Supreme Court along with appeals challenging a 2010 Allahabad High Court decision fixing the exact birthplace of Lord Ram at the disputed Ayodhya site.

A three-judge Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court had in September 2010 gave a unanimous decision that Lord Ram was born under the central dome of the makeshift temple and Hindus have the right to worship there.

Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas president Nritya Gopal Das at the 'shila puja' of the stones that arrived at the Ram Sewak Puram workshop in Ayodhya. File photo

Subsequently, the Supreme Court had stayed the implementation of the High Court decision soon after. The case has remained in limbo ever since.

In his petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution, Mr. Swamy contended that the pendency of the appeals in the Supreme Court has restricted his fundamental right to worship and dignity of life under the Constitution.

Indepth: Ayodhya verdict

He asked the court to intervene with the government to “allow the Hindus to rebuild the Ram temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya, State of Uttar Pradesh. The exact spot where Lord Rama was born (Ram Janmabhoomi) has been and remains firmly identified in the Hindu mind and is held as sacred”.

“A masjid is not an essential part of Islam religion, according to the above majority judgment of a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, whereas according to the House of Lords, U.K. (1991), the temple is always a temple even if in disuse or ruins. Thus, the fundamental truth is that the Ram temple on Ram Janmabhoomi has an overriding claim to the site than any mosque Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Article 25 and Article 21 of the Indian Constitution to the petitioner as well as to other persons belonging to the Hindu religion,” the petition said.

“So you want Ram temple to be constructed in the same place in Ayodhya?” Justice Arun Mishra, on the Bench with lead judge Gopala Gowda, asked Mr. Swamy.

“Why should you not go to the High Court? Without going to the High Court you have come here” Justice Gowda asked.

Justice Gowda questioned how the court is expected to consider this plea for Ram temple when the civil appeals on the very question of fixing the birth place are yet to be decided.

“When the civil appeals are still pending before this court, how can we hear your petition?” Justice Gowda asked.

The court then suggested that the current petition could be converted into an intervening application and be tagged along to be heard with the civil appeals whenever it came up for hearing.

Here’s a timeline of how events unfolded in the Ayodhya verdict:

The case Timeline

›1949: Idols of Ram Lalla are placed surreptitiously under the central dome.
› 1950: Gopal Simla Visharad files first suit in Faizabad civil court for rights to perform pooja to Ram Lalla.
› 1950: Paramahansa Ramachandra Das files a suit for continuation of pooja and keeping idols in the structure.
› 1959: Nirmohi Akhara files third suit, seeking direction to hand over charge of the disputed site. U.P. Sunni Central Wakf Board files fourth suit in 1961 for declaration and possession and fifth in 1989 in the name of Ram Lalla Virajman for declaration and possession.
› 1986: District judge orderes locks be removed. Site opened for Hindu worshippers.
› 1989: The four suits pending were transferred to the High Court.
› 1991: U.P. govt. acquires land around the structure for convenience of devotees who attend Ram Lalla darshan.
› 1993: Govt. takes over 67 acres of land around the area, seeks SC’s opinion on whether there existed a Hindu place of worship before the structure was built.
› 1994: Case goes back to Lucknow Bench of HC, suits heard again from 1996.

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