What is Ayodhya case: From Babar era to numerous court orders, how fait accompli always dictated fate of disputed site

  • It is evident that the fait accompli created by the forcible demolition of the disputed structure has changed even the legal framework of the dispute.
  • This brief narration of the sequence of events in this piece is given to appreciate that the incident of demolition of the disputed shrine on 6 December 1992 was not all of a sudden or a secret activity.
  • The people of the country are eagerly and anxiously waiting for a just and final verdict in this vexed and highly emotive issue.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 5 November. It is being republished in light of the CJI Ranjan Gogoi-led Supreme Court bench being slated to deliver the verdict in the Ayodhya land dispute case on Saturday at 10.30 am.

The Ayodhya issue has dominated the politico-administrative discourse for almost 70 years. Legal aspects of the dispute have also come into focus from time to time. A detailed study and analysis of the legal proceedings by judicial and executive authorities indicates that so far, such proceedings have only supported and legitimised the fait accompli created at crucial times. Thus, the legal history of this issue has been an aggregate of the fait accompli episodes created generally by force, either of sword or majority, in the context of certain situations.

The sim of this piece is not to comment on the ownership or the title of land in dispute. It merely attempts to underline the legal endorsements of the fait accompli situations and consequent status quo but never venturing into proclaiming/establishing the status quo ante (as it was prior to change).

Genesis of Babri Masjid

Babri Masjid was built in 1528 by Mir Baqi Tashqendi, a general of Mughal emperor Babar. It is also argued by some scholars that it was built by Aurangzeb in honour of his great grandfather. For purposes of our discussion, it is immaterial whether Babar made it himself or he ordered Mir Baqi to make it or Aurangzeb made it. The fact remains that the mosque was allegedly, forcefully, built on the spot which was held sacred by the Hindus wherein, their God incarnate Ram Chandra was believed to be born. Hence, this was fait accompli – 1 created by the conqueror.

For about 350 years, which incidentally coincides with the total span of the Mughal empire, the situation continued more or less the same until the disturbances of 1853-55. The only change was the erection of a separation wall within the courtyard allowing the inner court to be used by Muslims and the outer court by Hindus.

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