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    Ayodhya Verdict: India's Biggest Legal Battle Was About Just 0.3 Acre Land, Not 2.77 Acres

    Representative image.

    Representative image.

    Many lawyers associated with the Ayodhya case say that it was a couple of media reports published after the Allahabad High Court judgment in 2010 that still cited 2.77 acres as the dispute land. The number never went away.

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    Utkarsh Anand

    New Delhi: The Ayodhya judgment, which capped India’s biggest religious and legal controversy on Saturday, has ruled on the ownership of 1,500 square yards or 0.309 acre land, and not 2.77 acres as has been widely reported and talked about.

    This 0.309 acre consists of the inner courtyard, outer courtyard and ‘Sita Ki Rasoi’. According to the judgment, the Ram Chabutra was destroyed during the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

    The opening paragraph of the voluminous judgment has made it clear that the five-judge bench was adjudicating on a much smaller piece of plot at the disputed site in Ayodhya.

    “These first appeals centre around a dispute between two religious communities, both of whom claim ownership over a piece of land measuring 1,500 square yards in the town of Ayodhya,” stated the opening sentence of the 1045-page judgment.

    So how did the figure of 2.77 acres come up and why was it invariably talked about? The 2.77 acres, comprising this 0.309 acre and adjoining areas, was acquired by the Kalyan Singh government in 1991 for development and providing amenities to pilgrims in Ayodhya.

    But a writ petition was filed before the Allahabad High Court against this acquisition, which was then set aside by a judgment dated December 11, 1992 — five days after the Babri mosque was demolished.

    Many lawyers associated with the Ayodhya case say that it was a couple of media reports published after the Allahabad High Court judgment in 2010 that still cited 2.77 acres as the dispute land. And then this number never went away.

    On Saturday, the bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi passed a decree giving title of this disputed 0.309 acre to the deity, being represented through Sri Ram Lalla Virajman.

    Vishnu Jain, one of the leading lawyers on behalf of the Hindu parties in this case, told News18 that the number ‘2.77 acres’ travelled from the Allahabad High Court and never got corrected. “The Supreme Court judgment, however, makes it absolutely clear that the ruling is only on 1,500 square yards, which is 0.3 acre, and not on 2.77 acres,” he added.

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