New Delhi: Seeking to speed up the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya in the face of judicial delays and growing pressure from the RSS, the Centre has filed a petition in the Supreme Court to return the land around the disputed site in Ayodhya to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas.
This land is part of the 67 acres acquired by the central government in 1993 after the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The SC had upheld the acquisition in 1994 and ordered that this land shall remain with the central government and not be released in anyone’s favour until the dispute is decided.
This arrangement was continued and reasserted by the Supreme Court in Aslam Bhure’s petition in 2003.
Now, the Centre has petitioned for the release of this acquired land in favour of the Ram Temple Trust, saying that it wants to retain only 0.3 acre of the disputed site and the rest should be returned to the Ram Temple Trust and other owners.
The Centre has also asked the court to enable it to determine the extent of this “excess land” after measuring how much land is required to access the disputed site.
The government has filed the petition a day after the Supreme Court delayed the hearing in the Ayodhya title suit. The hearing was cancelled because one of the judges, Justice SA Bobde, was not available due to medical reasons.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the temple-mosque case must be heard in court without delay. “The Ayodhya case has been pending for the last 70 years. The Allahabad High Court order was in favour of the temple (in 2010), but then it is on hold in the Supreme Court now. This matter should be cleared soon,” he said.
The Allahabad high court had ordered for the three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acre area at Ayodhya among the parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and the Lord Ram Lalla.