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'Completely Erred': SC Bench Points Out Allahabad High Court's 'Serious Flaws' in 2010 Ayodhya Verdict

The constitution bench said that granting an independent portion of the disputed land to Nirmohi Akhara defied logic and was contrary to settled principles of law.


Updated:November 9, 2019, 6:43 PM IST
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'Completely Erred':  SC Bench Points Out Allahabad High Court's 'Serious Flaws' in 2010 Ayodhya Verdict
Illustration by Mir Suhail/News18

New Delhi: During the verdict on disputed land in Ayodhya, the Supreme Court castigated the Allahabad High Court verdict which in September 2010 decided to give each of the three contesting parties--Sunni Waqf board, Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla--one-thirds of the total portion of the disputed 2.77 acre land.

However, all the three parties, dissatisfied with the High Court's verdict, had approached the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court in its judgment on Saturday said that the High Court bench had “completely erred” in its judgment. It also said that the High Court was not dealing with a title suit for partition. “In a suit for partition, it is trite law that every party is both a plaintiff and defendant.”

The High Court was instead “called upon to decide the question of title” as a whole, the constitution bench of the Supreme Court said.

Bringing down curtains on the issue, the Supreme Court has given the entire disputed 2.77-acre land to the Hindu parties with a trust to be formed by the Centre within three months to monitor the construction of a Ram Temple. The Sunni Waqf Board will be given 5 acres of alternate land, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court ruled in the unanimous verdict.

“The High Court has adopted a path which was not open to it in terms of the principles formulated above. It granted reliefs which were not the subject matter of the prayers in the suits. In the process of doing so, it proceeded to assume the jurisdiction of a civil court in a suit for partition, which the suits before it were not,” the order stated.

The order further says, “This provision does not entitle the court in a civil trial to embark upon the exercise of recasting virtually the frame of a suit, which was undertaken by the High Court. There was no basis in the pleadings before the High Court and certainly no warrant in the reliefs which were claimed to direct a division of the land in the manner that a court would do in a suit for partition.”

Pointing out a “serious flaw” in the “entire approach of the High Court”, the constitution bench said that granting an independent portion of the disputed land to Nirmohi Akhara which had claimed to be the shebait (a person who is appointed by temple authorities to serve the deity, maintain the property and manage it, and enjoys certain rights over the property) defied logic and was contrary to settled principles of law.”

Since Nirmohi Akhara’s did not have enough evidence to back their claim of being a shebait in the case, the top court in its order said it is not a shebait or devotee of the deity of Lord Ram, and instead handed over the entire 2.77 acre of disputed area to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas.

The Supreme Court in its observation notes that a pujari who conducts worship at a temple is not elevated to the status of a shebait. "A pujari gains no independent right despite having conducted the ceremonies for a long period of time. Thus, the mere presence of pujaris does not vest in them any right to be shebaits."

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