SC to rule on 70-year-old Ayodhya land case today
Judgment To Be Pronounced At 10.30am
New Delhi: In dramatic fashion, the Supreme Court notified at 9pm on Friday that Saturday will be judgment day for the 70-year-old Ayodhya dispute involving ownership
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claims by Hindu and Muslim parties over an area of 1,487sq yards in the UP town.
A bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer decided to deliver the verdict on a court holiday, hours after the CJI and Justices Bobde and
Bhushan met the UP chief secretary and the DGP to take stock of security arrangements in Ayodhya and the state. Delhi Police too beefed up security at the judges’ houses.
The announcement sharpened the suspense on the verdict, keenly awaited by both sides. The Ayodhya dispute has been central to national politics, marking an ideological cleavage between BJP and its “secular” opponents. Several Hindu and Muslim organisations have called for calm ahead of the ruling while the Centre and states are on alert.
Lucknow: A day before the Supreme Court delivers its historic verdict in the decades-old Ram JanmbhoomiBabri Masjid land dispute in Ayodhya, the temple town has been turned into a tightsecurity fortress — both on ground and virtually too.
On Friday, a digital war-room was set up at the UP police headquarters in Lucknow with a dedicated 15-member social media unit to be in sync with 3 lakh ‘digital volunteers’ on the ground to maintain round-the-clock vigil on 25 sensitive districts in UP.
A senior police officer told TOI that the core digital team has been asked to keep a tab on messages running on WhatsApp in these districts through a 24x7 hotline with volunteers. Police chiefs of these districts have been directed to take assistance of digital soldiers, who would swiftly report suspicious movements or inflammatory social media messages. Citizens too can report any communally sensitive or derogatory messages circulating on social media on a WhatsApp number (8874327341).
Turning the temple town into a virtual cantonment, 12 companies of central paramilitary forces, six Rapid Action Force units, 10 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary, an Anti-Terror Squad and 5,000 policemen marched into Ayodhya on Friday.
Senior officers who were involved in the planning said, “Drone cameras are being used in the preparatory phase so that deployment of forces can be planned correctly.”
DGP O P Singh said, “SPs in all sensitive districts have also been asked to get in touch with the radio headquarters and update any development to the social media cell. Police drills to control mobs are being held every day in sensitive districts and drones deployed for aerial surveillance in hy
per-sensitive spots. IIT-Kanpur has been roped in to help in aerial surveillance. All district magistrates have been put on night duty, along with SPs.”
“We are preparing a dossier of repeat digital offenders at each police station. At least 76 cases have been filed and 42 people arrested for uploading objectionable posts,” he added.
UP CM Yogi Adityanath announced on Thursday that two helicopters will be on standby in Lucknow and Ayodhya for security purposes.
All schools, colleges, educational institutions and training centres in UP will remain shut on Saturday and Monday. “With November 10 being Sunday, all education institutions will remain closed for three days,” confirmed additional chief secretary-home,
The notification merely said the five-judge constitution bench would deliver judgment at 10.30am on Saturday in two cases, Shia Central Board of Waqf, UP vs Sunni Central Board of Waqf, UP; and the Ayodhya land dispute case involving four suits — filed by Gopal Singh Visharad in 1950, by Nirmohi Akhara in 1959, Sunni Waqf Board in 1961 and deity Ram Lalla Virajman through next friend in 1989. The deity and Sunni Waqf Board are locked in litigation over complete ownership over the disputed land, while Nirmohi Akhara seeks priestly rights. Gopal Singh Visharad’s claim is to continue worshipping the deity at the place where it now sits.
The SC notification did not indicate if the judgment will be unanimous, or by 3-2, or 4-1 majority. However, sources told TOI that there will be more than one judgment in the case. The centrestage on Saturday will be taken by the SC’s decision on the four suits, which were decided by the Allahabad HC on September 30, 2010.
An interesting facet will be whether SC takes into account the mediation panel’s October 16 report informing it about a settlement reached between parties through negotiation. The settlement’s main point was that Sunni Waqf Board had agreed to give up its claim over the disputed site if certain other conditions, including restoration of two dozen mosques in Ayodhya and opening up of several other mosques under ASI control for offering of prayers.
Interestingly, the SC has also listed the 2017 appeal of Shia Waqf Board, which has challenged a 1940s order of Faizabad district court dismissing its suit seeking ownership of the disputed Babri Masjid. In its arguments before the SC, Shia Waqf Board had pledged to give the disputed site to Hindus for construction of Ram temple.
Full report on www.toi.in
Police personnel guard the premises near the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya on Friday