The razing of the Babri masjid by right-wing activists in December 1992 was illegal, the Supreme Court indicated today in its judgment in the decades-old politically sensitive Ayodhya title suit. The masjid demolition case, which is pending at a special court in Lucknow, has entered its last leg. Several senior BJP leaders, including party patriarch LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti have been named in the case.
The demolition of the mosque, the five-judge bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, was "a calculated act of destroying a place of public worship," the court said, adding, "It is necessary to provide restitution to the Muslim community for the unlawful destruction of their place of worship".
The top court today said the 2.77 acres of disputed land in Ayodhya should be given to a government-run trust for the construction of a temple. The court also announced that a 5-acre plot of land will be allotted for a mosque at a "prominent" site in the temple town, saying that a "wrong committed must be remedied".
"Justice would not prevail if the Court were to overlook the entitlement of the Muslims who have been deprived of the structure of the mosque through means which should not have been employed in a secular nation committed to the rule of law," the judgment read.
"The Constitution postulates the equality of all faiths," the 1045-page judgment read.
The 16th Century mosque was razed on December 6, 1992 by right-wing activists who believed that it was built over a temple that marked the birthplace of the Lord Ram. More than 3000 people were killed in the riots that followed.
LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti were accused of conspiracy in the case. The other accused against whom the conspiracy charge was invoked by the Supreme Court in April 2017 include former BJP lawmaker Vinay Katiar and Sadhvi Ritambara.
Three high-profile accused -- Giriraj Kishore, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal and Vishnu Hari Dalmia -- have died during the trial.
In July, the top court said the trial court should complete the hearing in the demolition case within six months and deliver a judgment by the end of another three months. It also said the court should hold day-to-day hearings in the case - a process it adopted later to resolve the title suit.