The Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi will deliver on Saturday the verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute, one of India’s most sensitive and divisive religious and political issues. The decision to pronounce the ruling on Saturday comes hours after Chief Justice Gogoi met top Uttar Pradesh officials on the law and order preparations in the state.
The five-judge bench was set up earlier this year to rule on a batch of appeals against a 2010 Allahabad high court judgement. The original verdict ordered the division of the disputed 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya into three equal parts to be divided among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara, a religious denomination; and the Ram Lalla Virajman, which represents the child deity Ram.
The bench, also comprising justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer wrapped up a marathon, sometimes acrimonious 40-day hearing on the title suit on October 16, paving the way for a judicial settlement of the decades-old dispute.
A large section of Hindus believes that the disputed site marks the birthplace of the warrior-god Ram and that a temple that stood on the location was destroyed in the 16th century during the rule of Mughal emperor Babar and a mosque, the Babri Masjid, was constructed on its ruins. On December 6, 1992, Hindu activists campaigning for the construction of a Ram temple on the site demolished the mosque, triggering a cycle of violence and riots across the country.