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Shia contention dismissed by SC: Here’s why

The Shia party to the Ayodhya dispute had based its case on the identity of Mir Baqi, Mughal conqueror Babur's general, who built Babri Masjid

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The five-judge constitutional bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi dismissed the Shia Waqf Board’s plea while passing the judgment in the Ayodhya case today. Before the verdict, Shia Waqf Board counsel Ashwani Upadhyay had said that Mughal conqueror Babur’s general Mir Baqi was a Shia and that no Shia-made mosque could be given to a Sunni. “Therefore, we have the right over it and it should be given to us,” the Shia party to the dispute held.

The Shia Waqf Board demanded the land to transfer it to Hindus so that they could build a grand temple of the god Allama Iqbal referred to as Imam-e-Hind: Lord Rama. The side held that it would set an example of Hindu-Muslim unity.

On behalf of the sect’s waqf board, chairman Syed Wasim Rizvi said that the Babri Masjid was under the Shia Waqf, based on available evidence. It said it was a different matter altogether that in the last 71 years, the Babri structure had not been claimed by the Shia Waqf Board. He said that the Waqf Masjid Mir Baqi was a Muslim property under the jurisdiction of the Shia Waqf.

The Shia Waqf Board has been openly saying that a temple should be built at the disputed site. Wasim Rizvi said that if both the temple and the mosque were to be built at the disputed site, there would be a possibility of conflict between the communities. This should be avoided, Rizvi held. For this, a Ram temple should be constructed at the disputed place and a mosque should be constructed in the Muslim-dominated area left far from the disputed place.

Rizvi said that the board he headed used to hold the disputed land till 1946 and there used to be Shia’s Mutawalli, but the British government transferred the land to the Sunni Waqf Board. The board said that Mir Baqi, who built the Babri Masjid, was a Shia. “That is why it becomes our first right,” Rizvi had argued.

The matter began to be heard daily in the Supreme Court, beginning 6 August and the process ended on 16 October. In the Supreme Court, a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi reserved the verdict then and delivered the judgment today. The bench consisted of Justice Bobde, Justice Dhananjay Y Chandrachud, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Abdul Nazeer.

Dismissing the Shia contention, the Supreme Court ruled that the land belonged to the government as of now as per the revenue records and, therefore, the argument above could not be upheld.

The court also dismissed the petition filed by the Nirmohi Akhara which had moved the trial court in 1959 seeking management and devotee rights over the land.

Fourteen appeals had been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits. It said the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties: the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

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