India's top court reserves verdict in long-drawn Babri mosque case

Updated October 16, 2019

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This photo from 2018 shows supporters of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad gathered for a rally to demand the construction of a 
Ram temple. — AP/File
This photo from 2018 shows supporters of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad gathered for a rally to demand the construction of a Ram temple. — AP/File

India's Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved the verdict in the Ayodhya land dispute case, saying that it will be pronounced before November 17 when Chief Justice Rajan Gogoi leaves office.

Before today's hearing was wrapped up, the court asked the parties involved to submit within three days, written notes on 'moulding of relief' — the narrowing down of areas on which the court is required to pass judgment, reported Hindustan Times.

Gogoi had asked the parties to present their concluding arguments today by 5pm (local time) and according to NDTV, they were concluded shortly after 4pm.

“Enough is enough,” he had said, dismissing the intervention application filed by the Hindu Mahasabha party seeking more time for arguments.

“By 5pm, this matter is going to be over,” Gogoi was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.

The top judge headed the five-judge constitution bench hearing the decades-long case, to decide whether a Hindu temple should be built on the ruins of a mosque. Wednesday marked the 40th day since the hearing began.

According to NDTV, the three-member Ayodhya mediation panel filed its report on the second round of mediation today.

India had barred public gatherings in the town of Ayodhya as the Supreme Court started hearing final arguments on Monday.

For over a century, Hindus and Muslims have been in a tussle over Babri mosque in Ayodhya in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Hindus claim the mosque was the birthplace of Lord Ram and was built after the destruction of a temple by Muslim invader Babur in 1528.

On the other hand, Muslims say they offered prayers at the mosque until December 1949, when some idols of Lord Ram were placed in the mosque. British rulers fenced the area as early as 1859 to as a preemptive measure and the government of India locked its gates in 1949.

On December 6, 1992, the mosque was razed to the ground by a mob of thousands, triggering riots and violence that killed over 2,000 people in India.

Hindu and Muslim groups have failed to resolve the dispute through negotiations over the years, and a court decision in 2010 to divide the 2.77-acre site between one Muslim group and two Hindu groups was opposed by both sides.

The Supreme Court then took control of the site and heard petitions from both sides over what should be built there.