M Siddiq (D) Thr Lrs. vs. Mahant Suresh Das & Ors.

(Civil Appeal Nos. 10866-10867 of 2010)

2019 1251 SC


This case has drawn national attention for a considerable amount of time and has one of the earliest beginnings in the history of the Indian judicial system. The case centres on the competing religious views of India’s two biggest populations about a plot of land in the historic city of Ayodhya. In this instance, the Hindu community asserted that Lord Ram’s birthplace was beneath the Babri Masjid, which was constructed by Babur, the Mughal Emperor. After the first communal conflict over the disputed area occurred in the 1850s, the Colonial British Government built a wall inside the territory to defuse the situation. Mahant Raghubar Das filed a lawsuit in 1885 to have a Ram temple constructed in the outer courtyard. The Court rejected this plea to maintain peace and order.

A long-lasting communal fire was started on December 22, 1949, when the Hindu community erected idols of Lord Ram in the Central Dome. The contested territory was sealed off by the Faizabad Civil Court per Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure after lawsuits brought by both populations. But in 1986, the Hindu community was allowed to worship there after the district judge of the Faizabad Court opened the gates. The Karsewaks’ demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, was the result of this decision.

The third lawsuit in this dispute was launched in 1959 by the Nirmohi Akhara. They asserted that they were in command of the temple’s administration. The fourth lawsuit was brought in 1961 by the Muslims in Ayodhya and the Uttar Pradesh Suni Central Board of Waqf. Ultimately, Bhagwan Ram Lalla Virajman, the God himself, brought a lawsuit in 1989 via his next friend, the late Justice Deoki Nandan Agarwal. He asserted both an injunction and ownership of the contested location.

In 1989, the case was moved from the Faizabad Civil Court to the Allahabad High Court. Three portions of the land were settled upon by the High Court: the inner courtyard for the Lord, the Ram Chabutra and Sita Rasoi for the Nirmohi Akhara, and the remaining portion for the Sunni Board. However, none of the parties were satisfied with the court’s decision and thus filed appeals and special leave petitions with the Supreme Court.

The Hindu community claims that the Babri Masjid was constructed after the Mughals destroyed the Ram Janam Bhoomi, which had previously existed. However, the Muslims asserted that Mir Qasim, Babur’s general, had built the mosque on an empty piece of ground on Babur’s orders. However, the Muslim community did not contest Ram Janam Bhoomi’s existence. All they said was that there was no proprietary claim against the Hindu community. As per the Nirmohi Akhara, the lawsuit was submitted by the Shebat in their official capacity. The person who serves looks after and has total authority over the deity’s belongings is known as a shebait.

The fundamental claim made by the Sunni Board was that before the idols were erected in 1949, there were no gods in the region. They stated that up to 1949, they would frequently pray in the mosque. They would benefit more from it because they have been using the contested property for a longer period. However, the Hindu community asserted that Babur demolished multiple temples, including the Ayodhya temple, following his invasion of their homeland, which is now known as India. After adopting a constitutional system of just governance, it was only proper to make amends for the injustices done to the Hindu population after they forced them to endure the violence of their invasion. The property title, they said, had been in place since the eleventh century and would still be valid today. Evidence was shown, one of which was the Faizabad Gazette from 1928. This gazette stated that the Mughal emperor Babur had destroyed the ancient temple known as the Ram Janam Bhoomi. The mosque was built using remnants of the collapsed temple, including the Kasauti Pillar. Worshippers persisted in honouring Lord Ram through a variety of symbols, including Sita Rasoi, even after the destruction. It was essential to represent the Lord himself rather than his adherents, which made the lawsuit the deity filed noteworthy. Their interests would take precedence over Lord Ram’s.


  1. Were the lawsuits filed by Nirmohi Akhara, the Sunni Waqf Board, and the Deity himself barred by Indian limitation law?
  2. Whether Ram Janma Bhoomi could be recognised as a juristic entity?
  3. Whether there was a temple that existed in the disputed area? If so, would the Hindu community be entitled to it?


On behalf of the Sunni Central Waqf Board

  1. Before the idol was sneakily carried in on the evening of December 22–23, 1949, no gods were erected on the grounds of the Babri Masjid. Any deity is denied in the written statement.
  2. The mosque hosted Friday services until December 16, 1949, and regular prayers until December 22, 1949.
  3. The British administration kept providing the mosque with the same grants that it had supplied throughout Babur’s rule.
  4. The disputed site’s lengthy history as a mosque for open prayer raises the land in question to a waqf by the user, even in the absence of an explicit dedication. It stated that since the mosque’s erection in 1528 until its defilement on December 22–23, 1949, namaz had been offered there. As a result, the disputed property has served as a place of religious worship.

On behalf of the Plaintiffs 

  1. It was alleged that during Babur’s invasion of India, several temples—including the Vikramaditya temple in Ayodhya—were demolished. He asserted that during the Mughal era, the region that is now known as India was occupied by foreign forces, and Hindus were prohibited from practising their religion. It seems likely that the wrongs of the Mughals would be made up with the approval of the Indian Constitution.
  2. Additionally, it was stated that the plaintiff deities from the twelfth century still had legal standing because a deity’s land is unalienable.
  3. The assertion that Babur destroyed the ancient temple, known as the Ram Janmabhumi temple, in 1528 and that a mosque was constructed on its location mostly with the help of materials from the destroyed temple, including the Kasauti pillars, Nonetheless, the worshippers continued to worship Lord Ram through symbols such as the Charan and Sita Rasoi and the idol of Lord Ram on the Ramchabutra within the enclosure.
  4. A legitimate waqf has never existed or could have been. It has been declared that the plaintiff deities possess title, even if Muslim inhabitants intrude on private property. There have reportedly been no prayers said at the mosque.
  5. Plaintiff deities were not parties to Section 145 proceedings.
  6. The deities have been in possession, and adverse possession renders worthless any claim of ownership adverse to the deities.
  7. Since the Deity was not a party to the earlier suits, suit number five was required. Additionally, based on the fear that the prominent parties’ interests were being sought in the current lawsuits without safeguarding the autonomous needs and concerns of Lord Ram’s Deity, which is well and truly borne out by the proceedings as they unfolded before this Court.


To comprehend the allegations of both parties, the Court travelled back in time. The Court decided that if the earlier courts had acknowledged any rights or obligations from the past, the present legal system would acknowledge them all. Our Constitution acknowledges the validity of earlier court rulings. According to the Constitution, laws that were in force before they were adopted will continue to be so even after they are adopted.

The Court stressed that the Hindu community had been acknowledged and assisted by the British government. The installation of Lord Ram idols in 1873 led to this relief. After that, the Court discussed the subject of adverse possession. Adverse possession, first and foremost, is the theory that someone who lacks title to land might get it by continuous habitation. Any adverse possession plea, in the Court’s opinion, is not the result of just law but rather a product of facts and law.

The Muslim community did not meet the requirements of adverse possession and could not claim the contested land since they were unable to provide any evidence of their occupancy of it between 1528 and 1860. The Court continued by citing Ismail Faruqui’s seminal ruling, in which the Supreme Court determined that mosques did not constitute an essential component of Islam.

The Court cited another significant Supreme Court ruling to carry on its assessment of the fundamentals of religious secularity. It was said that India’s secularism goes beyond merely tolerating minorities’ religions. It also entails proactive measures to guarantee that every religion is treated fairly. The rights of the Muslim community had been flagrantly infringed, the court declared. They held that the Babri Masjid’s demolition violated the Rule of Law and that this infraction ought to be made right as soon as possible.

The Court went on to say that the fifth suit’s contention about whether the deity himself was a juristic person was rejected. The Court rejected this argument, stating that if such property were given legal personality, the disputed property would cease to exist as immovable property.

Regarding the third lawsuit, which was brought by the Nirmohi Akhara, the court declared that their rights to the contested property were never addressed in the prior magistrate’s ruling. The Nirmohi Akhara did not offer any evidence to support their assertion. Because they failed to submit the lawsuit alleging the incompetence of the deity, their claims to the temple as a Shebait were also denied. Their interests were involved as the lawsuit was brought on their behalf. The claim was dismissed in its entirety because the statute of limitations had run out.

The evidence cited in the Supreme Court’s addendum supported the Hindu community’s opinion that the contested territory is the site of Ram Janam Bhoomi. After learning from the Archaeological Survey of India that the Babri Masjid was a 12th-century building rather than a piece of undeveloped ground, the Court continued to investigate its allegations. Despite multiple riots, the Hindu community also refused to accept the demarcation and persisted in worshipping in the disputed region. Consequently, because they had developed unbroken, continuous devotion, the Hindus were entitled to the title.

To support our nation’s secular commitment to its citizens and make up for the illegal destruction of the mosque, the Court decided to award the disputed 2.77 acres of property to the Hindu community and provide the Muslim community with 5 acres of land for a mosque.


The Waqf Property Act has to be revised because it sets the legal precedent that says Waqf property cannot be awarded to the person who feels wronged. A plot of land designated as a public mosque is known as waqf property. The idea of justice found in the Constitution cannot be superseded by this principle. One thing all Middle Eastern invaders’ mosques had in common was that they were constructed over temples or temple grounds. Furthermore, it would be incorrect to deny the other parties access to property that historically belongs to them simply because the mosque was built unlawfully and horribly and is Waqf property, even after years of requesting justice through the legal system. 


A landmark case in Indian legal history is still the Ram Mandir dispute. It was also one of the larger rulings since the Supreme Court consolidated five earlier lawsuits that had been brought before lower courts to produce a single ruling.

Mahant Raghubar Das filed Suit 1, which aimed to construct a temple in the property’s exterior courtyard. The argument to protect social harmony and legal order was dismissed by the court. This court’s ruling was more deceptive than it initially appeared. The Civil Court, a crucial component in the formation of British India, did not attempt to settle the dispute. The situation could’ve been better if, at the time, the disputed land was divided among the parties, as the plaintiffs were satisfied with the outer courtyard according to religious texts that were the exact birthplace of Lord Rama. However, the court upheld the divide-and-conquer strategy of the British government, allowing the conflict between Muslims and Hindus to worsen.

In the middle of the ongoing riots over the land, both parties filed a second lawsuit. The contested property for both parties must be locked under the Faizabad Civil Court’s judgement. This was a really wise move because taking any other course of action would have made the already delicate issue worse for all parties involved.

However, the Hindus were permitted to open the gate and worship the idols in 1986 by the Faizabad District Judge. The Karsevaks’ 1992 destruction of the Babri Masjid was a result of this court decision gone wrong.

In 1989, the Allahabad High Court took over the verdict and legal processes of the final three suits filed for declaration, upkeep, and possession of the site by Nirmohi Akhara, the UP Suni Central Board of Waqf, and Lord Ram personally. In 2002, the court started to hear the case. The Allahabad High Court resolved to divide and distribute the contested land into three parts after the proceedings in 2010. The rest belongs to the Waqf board, the Ram Lalla idol site to the Ram Lalla-representing party, and Sita Rasoi and Ram Chabutara to Nirmohi Akhara. Once more, the court attempted to evade reality, render a wise ruling that did not appease any party, and take no action to address the issue. Unsatisfied with the court’s judgement, the parties moved to the Supreme Court to appeal against it.

The case of M. Siddiq (D) Thr Lrs vs. Mahant Suresh Das & Ors, decided by the Supreme Court, resolved the long-running disagreement on who owned the disputed land in Ayodhya. The decision, which had previously caused tensions and bloodshed between the communities, was universally praised for its impartiality and fairness in settling the conflict.

Adv khanak sharma (D\1710\2023)

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