Ayodhya verdict at last

The Supreme Court will give its verdict on the Ram Janambhoomi – Babri Masjid land title dispute on Saturday, November 9 at 10.30 am. This has taken the country and even Uttar Pradesh by surprise as the news was only put up on the Supreme Court website on Friday evening. There is high alert around the country and security has been beefed up in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Delhi. About 4000 paramilitary forces have been moved to Uttar Pradesh to assist the State Police. The Up Police Chief while speaking on television expressed concern that social media might be the biggest challenge as it has the potential to ignite emotions that could in turn lead to serious communal fall-out. All educational institutions in UP will be shut until Monday. This means that the State Government of UP is taking all steps to contain any possible backlash of the Ayodhya verdict. The 5-judge Constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had reserved the judgment on October 16 after a marathon hearing that lasted 40 days. The five judge constitutional bench presided by Chief Justice Gogoi comprises Justices S.A. Bopde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer. Chief Justice Gogoi had on Friday met with the Chief Secretary and DGP of UP to review the law and order situation in the state ahead of the verdict. The day to day hearing on the Ayodhya land dispute case by the five judge constitution bench had started the day-to-day hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute case on 6 August after mediation between the Hindu and Muslim claimants failed.
Needless to say the 40 day hearing witnessed a lot of drama and ended on 16 October. The constitutional bench had directed the parties on the last day to submit notes on written submissions on ‘moulding of relief’ or narrowing down the issues on which the court is required to adjudicate, within the next three days. There are three prominent parties to this dispute. They are the Nirmohi Akhara which has sought directions to construct a Ram temple and wants the management rights of the premises to be given to them; Ram Lalla which wants the entire disputed land to be given to them and no part of the land should be given to Muslim parties or Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Waqf Board which demanded that the Babri Masjid be restored to its original form before it was destroyed on 6 December, 1992. It remains to be seen how the Supreme Court deals with this contentious issue that has occupied the minds of the citizenry of India for 27 years.